Dates were an important part of daily diet to anyone living in the dry desert regions near the Dead Sea. Carbonized dates were discovered in association with a date press located on the outskirts of Qumran by Israeli archaeologist Yitzhak Magen in 1993. This structure is an interesting find, because the available water at Qumran would not have supported a date orchard; the nearest reasonable source would be at the brackish springs of Ein Feshkha, two miles south of Qumran. The inhabitants of Qumran would have also raised herds of sheep, goats and cattle, and possibly mined salt and bitumen from the highly saline and fish-less waters of the Dead Sea.
- Jodi Magness, 2002. The Archaeology of the Dead Sea Scrolls. William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co, Grand Rapids, Michigan.