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Archaeologists Discover 12th Dead Sea Scrolls Cave

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Archaeologists Oren Gutfeld and Ahiad Ovadia, from the Hebrew University's Institute of Archaeology, survey a cave that once contained Dead Sea Scrolls. (Casey L. Olson and Oren Gutfeld)
Archaeologists Oren Gutfeld and Ahiad Ovadia, from the Hebrew University’s Institute of Archaeology, survey a cave that once contained Dead Sea Scrolls. (Casey L. Olson and Oren Gutfeld)

 

Archaeologists excavating near the northwestern shore of the Dead Sea have discovered a 12th cave, which they believe housed Dead Sea Scrolls. This is the first time in over 60 years a new cave relating to the scrolls has been unearthed and fully excavated.

Although no scrolls were discovered in Cave 12, as it’s now being called, jars and lids from the Second Temple period were discovered there, with evidence that the cave had been looted in the ’50s. In other words, there were scrolls hidden in the cave at one point in time.

A piece of parchment to be processed for writing, found rolled up in a jug, in a cave on the cliffs west of Qumran excavated by Hebrew University archaeologists. (Casey L. Olson and Oren Gutfeld)
A piece of parchment to be processed for writing, found rolled up in a jug, in a cave on the cliffs west of Qumran excavated by Hebrew University archaeologists. (Casey L. Olson and Oren Gutfeld)

 

Per the Israel Antiquities Authority, the Dead Sea Scrolls were pieced together from thousands of parchment/papyrus fragments—discovered in the other 11 caves—to form the hundreds of manuscripts. The first pieces were discovered in the caves of Qumran in the Judean Desert back in 1947, with the last fragments found in the early ’60s. They contain two types of text: biblical manuscripts (books found in the Hebrew Bible); and manuscripts that were non-biblical but still religious writings from the Second Temple era. The dates of the texts range from the third century BCE to 70 CE, when the Second Temple was destroyed.

Fault cliff and entrance, on the left, to a cave near the Dead Sea, excavated by Hebrew University archaeologists, who designated it the 12th Dead Sea Scrolls cave. (Casey L. Olson and Oren Gutfeld)
Fault cliff and entrance, on the left, to a cave near the Dead Sea, excavated by Hebrew University archaeologists, who designated it the 12th Dead Sea Scrolls cave. (Casey L. Olson and Oren Gutfeld)
New Cave Where Dead Sea Scrolls Were Hidden Discovered
A worker of the Israeli Antiquity Authority sews fragments of the Dead Sea scrolls which includes biblical verses in a preservation laboratory of the Israel Museum in Jerusalem. (Eddie Gerald/Getty Images)

 

For more on the discovery, click here. Browse the Dead Sea Scrolls here.

RealClearLife Staff