Industry

The industrial complex consisted of an industrial installation, a reservoir, and a four-channeled water system that brought in water from now extinct springs located just north of the site. The nature of the industry cannot be determined from the material record and several interpretations have been raised. Ein Feskha's first excavator, Fr. Roland de Vaux of Qumran fame, suggested that the complex was a tannery that produced parchment for the Essene scribes at Qumran. Others have proposed that Ein Feshka was a place where date wine was produced, where date honey was processed, or where fish were raised. Hirschfeld offers yet another suggestion, that Ein Feshka was involved in the balsamic perfume industry, along with Jericho roughly 15 kilometers to the north. If this is the case, then the structures before us would perhaps be best interpreted as a crushing station, with shallow pools for soaking and deeper vats for storage. According to Hirschfeld, the only features missing would be the necessary ovens and hearths that have not been found at Ein Feshka. However, Qumran, located just 3 kilometers north of the site and about 60 meters higher in elevation, has an abundance of ovens and hearths. Hirschfeld suggests that perhaps "perfume essence was produced in the installation at 'Ein Feshka, and that the finished product was manufactured at Qumran and from there was transported to the markets of Palestine and beyond."


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