The unique feature of the settlement at En-Gedi, which was occupied virtually without interruption from 650 BCE to 650 CE, was its homogeneous Jewish character throughout its long history. Founded in a desolate region, it almost always received assistance from a central government because it produced perfumes more precious than gold. The settlement was periodically destroyed: during the destruction of the First Temple, at the end of the Persian period, and during the First and Second Jewish Revolts against Rome; but in each of these cases, it soon recovered and was rebuilt as a Jewish settlement. Other populations also settled there from time to time: some clear Edomite and Phoenician influences can be discerned among its early remains, and signs of the Nabateans and of the Roman army are evident in its later stages. The debris of a short-lived Mamluk settlement, which occupied the site before its final abandonment, was also uncovered by Y. Hirschfeld.
En-Gedi Excavations I. Final Report (1961–1965)
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