A new ‘Dead Sea Scrolls’ cave has been discovered – and archaeologists suspect that scrolls from the Second Temple period were hidden there until the 1950s, before being stolen.
It’s the first new cave found in decades – after the famous scrolls were uncovered near the Dead Sea between 1946 and 1956.
The Scrolls contained versions of many Biblical texts – including books which were not canonised in the Hebrew Bible.
Hebrew University archaeologist Dr. Oren Gutfeld: ‘This is one of the most exciting archaeological discoveries, and the most important in the last 60 years, in the caves of Qumran.’
The excavators are the first in over 60 years to discover a new scroll cave and to properly excavate it.
Excavation of the cave revealed that at one time it contained Dead Sea scrolls.
Numerous storage jars and lids from the Second Temple period were found hidden in niches along the walls of the cave and deep inside a long tunnel at its rear.
Dr. Gutfeld said, ‘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 findings include the jars in which the scrolls and their covering were hidden, a leather strap for binding the scroll, a cloth that wrapped the scrolls, tendons and pieces of skin connecting fragments, and more.’
‘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,’ said Israel Hasson, Director-General of the Israel Antiquities Authority.
‘We are in a race against time as antiquities thieves steal heritage assets worldwide for financial gain.’