Israeli Archaeologists Discover Dead Sea Scroll Fragments in Desert Cave

Israeli archaeologists have discovered two dozen tiny fragments of an ancient biblical scroll in a remote cave in the Judean Desert near the Dead Sea, the first such discovery by professionals in over half a century.

“For the first time in approximately 60 years, archaeological excavations have uncovered fragments of a biblical scroll,” the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) said in a statement.

Archaeologists found over 20 crumpled pieces of parchment in the so-called Cave of Horror where 40 human skeletons had been discovered in an excavation in the 1960s.

IAA added that the scroll was written in Greek and included the books of Zechariah and Nahum from the Books of the Twelve Minor Prophets.

Archaeologists also found a complete basket dating back to about 10,500 years in another cave.

“As far as we know, this is the oldest basket in the world that has been found completely intact and its importance is, therefore, immense,” IAA said.

In the other caves, archaeologists discovered a 6,000-year-old skeleton of a mummified child and a collection of rare coins believed to be from the Bar-Kokhba revolt period.

IAA Director Israel Hasson said in the statement that the recent archaeological discoveries were a “wakeup call to the state.”

“The aim of this national initiative is to rescue these rare and important heritage assets from the robbers’ clutches,” Hasson said.

“Resources must be allocated for the completion of this historically important operation. We must ensure that we recover all the data that has not yet been discovered in the caves, before the robbers do. Some things are beyond value,” Hasson further said.

“These finds are not just important to our own cultural heritage, but to that of the entire world,” Ministry of Jerusalem and Heritage Director General Avi Cohen said in the statement.


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