Excavations on the storied Judean cliffside revealed a new Dead Sea Scrolls cave, full of scroll storage jars and other antiquities, the first such discovery in over 60 years. The discovery upends a decades-old theory in the archaeological community that Dead Sea Scrolls were only found in certain caves at the Qumran cliffs, which are managed by Israel in the West Bank. “Until now, it was accepted that Dead Sea Scrolls were found only in 11 caves at Qumran, but now there is no doubt that this is the 12th cave,” said Dr. Oren Gutfeld, one of the project’s lead archaeologists. Pottery shards, broken scroll storage jars and their lids — even neolithic flint tools and arrowheads — littered the cave’s entrance. Farther in, there appeared to be a cave-in. After a bit of work with a small pickax, the team made a monumental find: an unbroken storage jar with a scroll. It was rushed to Hebrew University’s conservation lab, where it was unfurled in a protected environment. It had no writing; it was placed in the jar to prepare it for writing. But the effort was not in vain. Scientists soon discovered the cave-in was intentional and it hid a tunnel about 16-20 feet in length.
Read on to see what they found.