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Wadi Qumran and the Dead Sea Scrolls

Qumran Ruins

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 ......

An Exhibit at the Library of Congress in Washington

The Library of Congress

The History of the Ancient Near East Electronic Compendium