Archaeologists from Hebrew University have made an important discovery. Excavations in a cave located along the cliffs near the Dead Sea, in Israel, have revealed the possible presence of yet another Dead Sea Scroll.
The scroll has not been located but evidence found by the team suggests that it was likely present in the cave, but may have been looted by Bedouins sometime during the last century. With this discovery the total tally of Dead Sea Scrolls now stands at 12 and it comes more than 60 years after the last scroll was discovered.
What Are The Dead Sea Scrolls?
The Scrolls were first discovered during the 1940's in the hills of Wadi Qumran in the Judean desert. Following this, 10 more such scrolls have been discovered till date.
These scrolls are said to be more than 2000 years old and provide better insight into the biblical texts and are known to be the second oldest known manuscripts which have survived.
Most of the text in the Dead Sea Scrolls is in Hebrew and some even have Greek writing. The discovery of these manuscripts is of historical and religious importance.
It was reported by Liberty University that the scrolls are so valuable that even a fragment as small as a fingernail would be priced at around $1 million, which offers insight into its importance.
The excavation was headed by Dr Oren Gutfeld and Ahiad Ovadia from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem's Institute of Archaeology. Liberty University in Georgia, USA also collaborated with them.
The findings include the empty jars in which the scroll is believed to have been preserved along with leather binding straps, a cloth used to wrap the scroll and pieces of skin.
"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," said Gutfeld post the excavation.
This indicates that the archaeologists consider the excavation a success even if the actual scroll was not discovered.
The team discovered pickaxe remains inside the cave which indicates that the theft of the scroll was relatively recent.
Israel Hasson, who is the Director General of Israel Antiquities Authority, believes that this recent excavation just goes to show that a lot of secrets are still "waiting to be discovered." He has requested more funding to conduct similar operations in other caves of the Judean desert.