- First discovery of a Useless Sea collapse over 60 years; “Operation Scroll” is a yearslong effort to survey Qumran cliffs
- Archaeologists assume the brand new cave was looted across the 1950s
The invention upends a decades-old idea within the archaeological group that Useless Sea Scrolls have been solely present in sure caves on the Qumran cliffs, that are managed by Israel within the West Financial institution.
“Till now, it was accepted that Useless Sea Scrolls have been discovered solely in 11 caves at Qumran, however now there isn’t any doubt that that is the 12th cave,” stated Dr. Oren Gutfeld, one of many undertaking’s lead archaeologists.
Pottery shards, damaged scroll storage jars and their lids — even neolithic flint instruments and arrowheads — littered the cave’s entrance. Farther in, there gave the impression to be a cave-in.
After a bit of labor with a small pickax, the crew made a monumental discover: an unbroken storage jar with a scroll. It was rushed to Hebrew College’s conservation lab, the place it was unfurled in a protected setting.
It had no writing; it was positioned within the jar to arrange it for writing.
However the effort was not in useless.
Scientists quickly found the cave-in was intentional and it hid a tunnel about 16-20 toes in size.
“Sooner or later hidden within the tunnel, we discovered a couple of [three] damaged storage jars with the lid,” stated Gutfeld. The crew additionally discovered the fabric coverings and the leather-based strap that certain the scrolls the jars as soon as held.
The crew thinks looters ransacked the cave across the 1950s, pointing to pickaxes left within the tunnel as proof.
“I think about they got here into the tunnel. They discovered the scroll jars. They took the scrolls,” stated Gutfeld. “They even opened the scrolls and left the whole lot round, the textiles, the pottery.”
Over the previous couple of years, researchers imagine Useless Sea Scroll fragments made their approach onto the antiquity black market. In response to Gutfeld, that resurgence led authorities and researchers to embark on the duty of surveying all of the caves at Qumran within the Judean desert.
That is probably simply the primary in a collection of Useless Sea Scroll discoveries, stated Gutfeld; they’ve tons of of caves and a few years to go.
“It is a large undertaking. It is a large operation,” he stated by cellphone. “We’re very optimistic after 60 years we nonetheless discover new caves with supplies that shed new mild on the scrolls.”
In response to a information launch from the Hebrew College of Jerusalem, the excavations are a part of “Operation Scroll,” a joint effort by the college, the Israel Antiquities Authority, the Israel Nature and Parks Authority and the Civil Administration of Judea and Samaria.