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New Dead Sea Scrolls Cave Unearthed In Israel, Here’s Why The Discovery Is Important

First Posted: Feb 10, 2017 05:19 AM EST

A new cave associated with the Dead Sea Scrolls has recently been unearthed by archaeologists in Israel. The interiors of the cave were found to be filled with ancient jars and lids, as well as fragments of string, leather and scroll wrappings. Incidentally, this is the first successful excavation of a Dead Sea Scrolls cave in 60 years and the 12th such cave discovered.

"This exciting excavation is the closest we have come to discovering new Dead Sea Scrolls in 60 years,” said Dr. Oren Gutfeld, archaeologist at the Hebrew University's Institute of Archaeology. He also added that though no actual scroll was found in the cave, with the findings limited to a piece of parchment rolled up in a jug, the discovery is still important because it indicates the presence of another cave that contained the scrolls.

Until the discovery of this new cave, researchers had assumed that only 11 caves had contained the famed scrolls. Now, the presence of a 12th cave in Israel’s Qumran site also backs the belief of archaeologists that robbers stole the artifacts from within it during the mid-1900s. The proof for the same was backed by the presence of pick ax heads in the premises, according to an NBC News report.

The Dead Sea Scrolls, which date back to fourth century BC, are a collection of approximately 1,000 manuscripts written in Aramaic, Greek and Hebrew and are some of the most important linguistic, religious and historical texts in the world. The discovery of the texts was first made in 1947 by a Bedouin shepherd.

According to researchers, finding another scroll cave implies that they can no longer be certain that the original locations of the 11 caves are accurate. Furthermore, the discovery of another scroll cave is a testament to the fact that a lot of work still needs to be done in the Judean Desert, and many more important discoveries are yet to be made.

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