The Dead Sea Scrolls
The Dead Sea scrolls are considered one of the most meaningful discoveries of the 20th century. These scrolls, found in caves around the Dead Sea in Israel, contain thousand-year-old passages from the Hebrew bible, as well as ancient poems, calendars, hymns and stories. The scrolls could even be used in finding the authenticity of the Bible.
The first cave was supposedly discovered in the 1940s by an Israeli shepherd who threw a rock into one of the caves and heard pottery shattering. Since then, eleven more caves have been discovered, the latest in 1956. The real mystery behind the scrolls however, is the number of scrolls not found. In many caves there are broken pots and pieces of torn parchment, some bound with parts of string, but never a complete set. There also seems to be a lot of information missing, likely due to looters and forgers.
The Israel Antiquities Authority has recorded an increased number of illegal artifacts hunters, exploring the area around the caves. This has prompted them to lead Operation Cave: a mission to precisely and thoroughly examine the region’s caves.
After discovering the twelfth cave, archaeologists found no scrolls, but empty jars and blank parchment, further proving the notion of looters. However, they are not disappointed. “This exciting excavation is the closest we’ve come to discovering new Dead Sea scrolls in 60 years,” said excavation director Oren Gutfeld. We are lucky the looter only took the scrolls, leaving all the evidence that there were scrolls in the cave. They are sure this cave contained the Dead Sea scrolls at some point in its history, and now it’s a race against time to find more caves before they are also looted. The discovery of another cave has re-sparked the interest of the Dead Sea scrolls in the ancient artifact world.