A team of archaeologists discovered A new cave in the Qumran cliffs on the Dead Sea full of 2,000 year old pottery, scroll jars and other relics. No Dead Sea Scrolls fragments were found.
This is the first discovery of caves in 60 years. Looting in the 1950s is believed to be the reason why ancient parchments are missing.
What are the Dead Sea scrolls?
A collection of 1,000 manuscripts make up the Dead Sea scrolls. They were found in Qurman caves. They’re the second oldest surviving version of texts which later became the Torah and the Bible.
Bedouin goat herders discovered the first parchment in a variety of languages, made from papyrus and copper in the 1940s.
The new discovery refutes the earlier theory that the scrolls were only located in 11 caves in Qumran, located in the West Bank and managed by Israel.
Dr. Oren Gutfeld, one of the joint Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Liberty University of Virginia project’s lead researchers, said in a statement that the new discovery removes all doubt from the existence of a 12th cave.
Shards of pottery and broken scroll storage jars and cloth and leather straps used to protect them dating from the Second Temple period were found the archeologists at the cave’s entrance. One parchment, black, was found in one of the jars. While the other jars, believed to have contained texts as well, were empty.
The archeologists believe that the cave was used since Chalcolithic and Neolithic period as evidenced by the presence of Flint blades, arrowheads and a stamp seal made of a semi-precious stone
Looting over the years:
The site has been previously discovered by looters in the 1950s, as the pickaxes suggest. Many Dead Sea Scroll fragments ended up on the relics’ black market throughout the years. Dr Gutfeld said that the findings indicate beyond any doubt that the cave contained scrolls that were stolen.
Dr Gutfield and his team are hopeful to excavate more caves in the Qurman area and that they would yield more discoveries.