Other Archaeological Sites / The Neolithic of the Levant (500 Page Book Online)
Wadi Qumran and the Dead Sea Scrolls
In 1947 young Bedouin shepherds searching for a stray goat in the Judean Desert entered a long untouched cave and found jars filled with ancient scrolls. That initial discovery by the Bedouins yielded seven scrolls and began a search that lasted nearly a decade and eventually produced thousands of scroll fragments from eleven caves.
During those same years archaeologists searching for a habitation close to the caves that might help identify the people who deposited the scrolls excavated the Qumran ruin, a complex of structures located on a barren terrace between the cliffs where the caves are found and the Dead Sea. Within a fairly short time after their discovery, historical, paleographic, and linguistic evidence, as well as carbon-14 dating established that the scrolls and the Qumran ruin dated from the third century BC to 68 AD. They were indeed ancient! Coming from the late Second Temple Period, a time when Jesus of Nazareth lived, they are older than any other surviving biblical manuscripts by almost one thousand years ......