Between 1946 and 1956, scientists found 1,000 Dead Sea Scrolls, the oldest known Biblical manuscripts, spread throughout 11 caves–and now they’ve located a cave that they are fairly sure is where scrolls were also once kept.

Discovered by archaeologists at Hebrew University, they found jars most likely for the storage of the scrolls, leather strings that would have wrapped them together and fragments of the wrapping of the scroll.

But there was one key item missing–the scroll itself.

They theorize that it was stolen by nearby Bedouin locals in the 1950s, but cannot be positive.

Scientists think that the scrolls must have been sold off, as the Smithsonian estimates that even a tiny scrap of the Dead Sea Scrolls might sell for around $1 million. 

The Dead Sea Scrolls, which contains first person accounts of life in 1st and 2nd century AD as well as Biblical writings, were first found by a Bedouin shepherd in 1947.

He stumbled upon the find of a lifetime while trying to find one of his errant sheep in Qumran, which is located on the modern day West Bank.

Thanks to modern day technology, they were digitized in 2011, allowing anyone with an interest to have a look at the scrolls.

And while there were no scrolls found this time around, scientists are still extremely excited for what they have discovered.

Oren Gutfeld from the Hebrew University’s Institute of Archaeology, stated:

“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.

Those findings include the jars in which the scrolls and their coverings were hidden, a leather strap for binding the scroll, a cloth that wrapped the scrolls, tendons and pieces of skin connecting fragments, and more.”

Thanks to these new findings, scientists are pretty convinced that there are more out there waiting to be discovered.

The team will continue to comb the region in what is known as “Operation Scroll” to find evidence of further texts.


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