OPENING UP OUR VIEW
Archaeological work on regionalism in Galilee (notably Meyers, 1975, 1977, 1985; Meyers and Strange 1981: 31-42; Meyers et al. 1978) has demonstrated that settlements must be understood within their regional context. Growing archaeological data provide a new basis for taking a regional approach to Khirbet Qumran and its surroundings. Contrary to the traditional characterization of Qumran as “isolated” and “unique”, a view dependent on particular readings of classical literature and texts found in caves near Qumran (cf. Ullmann-Margalit 1998), the regional approach clearly indicates that Qumran was not isolated, and that its inhabitants engaged in limited, regional trade and functioned within the specialized economy of the Dead Sea region.