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The Dead Sea Scrolls and the twelfth cave.
Discovered by archaeologists at Qumran in the West Bank, a new site with traces of the presence of other age-old manuscripts. It is the first after more than 60 years.
The discovery of a twelfth cave linked to the discovery of so-called Dead Sea Scrolls scholars can provide new means to deter looters and, at the same time, identifying fakes of ancient documents. A group of archaeologists from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Liberty University has dug a new cave that housed manuscripts. Not since 1956, ie more than 60 years, the researchers did not identify new sites related to precious documents and tracks, in the latter, are unequivocal: the Israeli team found several vessels that had been hidden in some niches carved into the walls the cave, cut to pieces and the content, of course, removed.
But some artifacts such as leather straps, and cloths to wrap the rolls and a pair of rusty pickaxes dating back to the ’50s, were left in place, a sign that the cave before the apparent looting, which took place a few decades ago, was to include a large collection of scrolls preserved in clay pots.
Studies show beyond all doubt that the cave contained scrolls that were stolen. The team of archaeologists also found fragments of parchment no traces of writing. These manuscripts have become areas with very high prices on the art market. Much of the artifacts ended up in the hands of grave robbers who in recent years have plundered the Dead Sea caves. The increase in illegal excavations prompted the IAA to launch a monitoring and study, a renewed effort to identify and systematically explore the caves in the region. The aim is to prevent important knowledge and testimony of the ancient world being erased from history. And there are another 50 sites ready to be investigated in the area. The Dead Sea Scrolls are considered by many as the greatest archaeological discovery of the twentieth century. Dating from the third century BC and the first century A.D. including the oldest manuscripts of the Hebrew Bible.
The first scrolls were discovered at the end of 1946 or early 1947 by Bedouin shepherds in a cave at Khirbet Qumran, on the north-west shore of the Dead Sea.
Since then, researchers have found more than 900 manuscripts, mostly on parchment, but also on papyrus, in ten other caves. Over the past 15 years the private antiquities market saw an increase in the offer of alleged fragments of the Dead Sea Scrolls, but for the most part, these counterfeits. Some texts have been reproduced with expertise on ancient scrolls as the rolls. It possible that these fragments come from the plunder of the same quarries. The study of the parchment without written that archaeologists have recently found may help shed light on these false “high quality” and to find out how they got on the antiques market. The prospect of discovering new rolls has already given rise to rumors and speculation. “We will not find the diary of the three wise men”. “We could most likely discover new texts that help us understand passages of the New Testament or the Talmudic literature.
The idea might come up with “text-bomb” to overturn the foundations established by this ancient religion is not at all realistic. Nor is it realistic to expect that Israel pays the slightest attention to the claims of the Palestinians, who claim that the Dead Sea Scrolls are the right part of their cultural heritage. The search and recovery of the rolls, in fact, take place in the West Bank, which the Palestinians and the United Nations consider the occupied territory, and Israel in 1954 signed the Unesco Convention which prohibits the excavation and removal or removal of cultural heritage of a country by foreign occupants. That said no Israeli government ever give up the possession of the oldest copies of the sacred texts of the Bible and of Jewish literature. Quite simply, it will not happen.
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