Archaeologists discover another Dead Sea Scroll cave

Archaeologists discover another Dead Sea Scroll cave

A team of archaeologists from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Liberty University in Virginia claimed to have discovered a cave that was reportedly used by Jews of the Second Temple era to hide scrolls containing copies of the Hebrew Bible and other ancient texts.

In the 1940s, a group of teenagers explored an ancient cave hidden in the hills of Wadi Qumran in the Judean Desert. Inside the cave, they found pieces of the original Dead Sea Scrolls -- ancient collections of text that contain the oldest-known biblical manuscripts. Since then, several Qumran caves containing the valuable scrolls have been discovered, with the latest being the 12th such cave.

Inside the newly discovered cave, the archeologists found storage jars and lids from the Second Temple period that dated from 530 BC to 70 CE. In addition, they found two iron pickaxe heads from the 1950s, which suggested that the cave had been plundered.

Hebrew University archaeologist Oren Gutfeld said, “This exciting excavation is the closest we’ve come to discovering new Dead Sea scrolls in 60 years. Until now, it was accepted that Dead Sea scrolls were found only in 11 caves at Qumran, but now there is no doubt that this is the 12th cave.”

Discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls, which are typically comprised of hundreds of documents made of papyrus, animal skin and forged copper, are expected to shed more light on the Bible as well as the histories of Judaism and Christianity.

“Although at the end of the day no scroll was found, and instead we ‘only’ found a piece of parchment rolled up in a jug that was being processed for writing, the findings indicate beyond any doubt that the cave contained scrolls that were stolen.”

"The important discovery of another scroll cave attests to the fact that a lot of work remains to be done in the Judean Desert and finds of huge importance are still waiting to be discovered,” Israel Hasson, Director-General of the Israel Antiquities Authority, said in the statement.

A BBC report further informed, "The team also found a seal made from carnelian, a semi-precious stone - evidence that prehistoric people once lived in the desert cave. The Bedouin looting theory arose with the discovery of two iron pickaxe heads from the mid-20th Century that had been left inside the cave tunnel."