An exciting surprise discovery has been made during excavations near the shores of the Dead Sea, in a cave on the cliffs west of Qumran. Dr. Oren Gutfeld, archaeologies from Hebrew University stated that “This is one of the most exciting archaeological discoveries, and the most important in the last 60 years in the caves of Qumran.”
In niches along the walls of the cave, (which scholars suggest should be numbered as Cave 12) many storage jars and lids dating from the second Temple period were found as well as deep inside a long tunnel at the back of the cave. The storage jars had originally contained scrolls that were looted during the middle of the last century.
This important discovery in Dead Sea Scroll research was the result of excavations carried out by Dr. Oren Gutfeld and Ahiad Ovadia from Hebrew University of Jerusalem with the collaboration of Dr Randall Price and students from Liberty University in Virginia USA.
Although no actual scrolls were found they did find parchment that was being prepared for writing, rolled up in a jug, as well as the jars that had contained the scrolls, a cloth scroll wrapping and a leather strap that tied a scroll, tendons and other fragments.
Also found during excavations were indications that the cave had been used in the Chalcolithic and Neolithic periods, with the discovery of pottery, various flint blades, arrowheads, a decorated stamp seal made of Camelian and a semi- precious stone.
All these discoveries indicate that there is still a lot of work to be done in the Judean desert where finds of huge importance are still waiting to be discovered.
(Credit for all photos to Casey L. Olson and Oren Gutfeld)