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Archaeologists might have just found another Dead Sea Scroll cave

Archaeologists might have just found another Dead Sea Scroll caveExcavations on the cliffs west of Qumran - an archaeological site near the northwestern shore of the Dead Sea - have revealed a cave full of jars and lids for scroll storage, dated to the same time period as the Dead Sea Scrolls.

This collection of ancient texts, which are considered to have great historic significance for the region, include one of the oldest known Biblical manuscripts. The scrolls were found in 11 caves at Qumran in the 1940 and '50s, and archaeologists say they might have just found the 12th.

"This exciting excavation is the closest we've come to discovering new Dead Sea scrolls in 60 years," said excavation director, Oren Gutfeld from Hebrew University's Institute of Archaeology.

"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."

While Gutfeld is taking definitively about the find, we need to keep in mind that no actual Dead Sea Scrolls have been discovered in this newly excavated cave.

Instead, the evidence suggests that the cave once contained scrolls from the Dead Sea Scroll era, but anything of value has since been looted.

The items that remain in the cave include jars that were built specifically to house scrolls, and a single piece of blank parchment that was being processed for writing.

Every single jar has been broken, and besides the single blank parchment, all of their contents appear to have been removed.

A pair of iron pickaxe heads from the 1950s have also been excavated from the site, which the team has attributed to Bedouins - nomadic people of the region - who looted the site around the same time that the 11 other caves were being excavated.
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