Ever since the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered 70 years ago in the Qumran Caves, located in the Judaean Desert of the West Bank, the ancient manuscripts have fascinated scholars and historians with the mysteries of their origins, and their authors. Long have they debated the identity of the scrolls’ guardians, who once occupied the region where the caves were found. Now an exhumation of 33 skeletons at the West Bank site, Qumran, has begun to lift the shroud, providing answers to some of these questions, while raising new ones.
The Dead Sea Scrolls, also known as the Qumran Caves Scrolls, were discovered between 1947 and 1956 in 11 caves at the Qumran site. While some of the scrolls survived intact, most of them consist of thousands of fragile parchment and papyrus fragments dating from the third century BCE to the first century of the Common Era. These found manuscripts contain literature of religious and historical significance because they include pieces of the Hebrew Bible.