caves of qumran

Caves of Qumran | The treasures from the Caves

A series of excavations in the hills west of the Caves of Qumranhills west of the Caves of Qumran, near the northwestern shore of the Dead Sea in the West Bank, has led to the discovery of a cave that was once supposed to contain the famous Dead Sea Scrolls, and which was looted by thieves of finds around the middle of the 20th century.

Qumran is a ruined site in Israel near the Dead Sea. The Arabs call the site Khirbet Qumran. This means “grey ruins,” but this place is commonly better known as Qumran. This is an ancient ruined settlement on a flat marl terrace near the northwest shore of the Dead Sea. The desert city of Qumran was already mentioned by Pliny the Elder as the capital of the Essenes (a Jewish sect). The Bible already says both settlements. It was already 68 AD during the Jewish uprising against the Romans (66 – 70) by their Legio X Fretensisdestroyed.

Coins from different epochs, ceramics, various tools, and everyday objects are primarily male. But also female and child skeletons were found in several large cemeteries. The interpretation of the finds and their possible connection with the writings are highly controversial. Based on the reports found in Cave 1, about 1.3 km north of Qumran, some archaeologists around Roland de Vaux began to dig randomly in December 1951 in ruins. In 1952, on behalf of the Antiquities Authority of Jordan, de Vaux organized an excavation team. That fully excavated the ruins of the Caves of Qumran in five phases by 1958.

Caves in the neighborhood of Qumran

Only in the 8th cave was a phylactery capsule and possibly a doorpost capsule found. From 1986 to 1991, a further 17 caves with ceramic remains and small finds were discovered in them during a systematic search, including a small oil can with oil wrapped in palm fibers. This is taken as evidence that some caves at Qumran were temporarily inhabited. Cave 4 contained the remains of around 600 scrolls, most cultic-liturgical texts. The remaining caves contained only a few highly fragmented remains of writing. In addition, there are other localities between Jericho and Massada, such as the theMurabba’at Caves and those in Nahal Hever, also known as the Bar Kokhba Caves. They are located near the Ein Gedi oasis.

The Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered between 1947 and 1956 in eleven rock caves near the ruins of Khirbet Qumran on the West Bank. They comprise around 15,000 fragments from about 850 scrolls from ancient Judaism written by at least 500 scribes between 250 BC and 250 BC., and 40 AD were inscribed. Among them are about 200 texts of the later Tanakh. These are the oldest known manuscripts of the Bible. Ancient scrolls were also found in other caves near the western shore of the Dead Sea, for example, in 1952 in Wadi Murabba’at (about 20 km south of Qumran), from 1963 in Masada, in Nahal Hever, in the wadi Zeelim, and 2004 in the Nachal Arugot.

The Dead Sea Scrolls are found in the Caves of Qumran.

The papers, known as the Dead Sea Scrolls, were found in 1947 by three Bedouins grazing their cattle near the sites. A goat got lost, and they went to look for it. A Bedouin boy discovered a cave where he suspected the goat he was looking for. He didn’t find the goat but found something that was far more valuable. Inside the cave were several clay jars containing some scrolls. The boy took a clay pot and showed it to a relative. He brought the contents – 7 scrolls – to a seller in Bethlehem, who also dealt in antiques. He acquired the documents from the Bedouins for little money. After that, he sold four rolls to the Metropolitan of the Syrian Orthodox Church in Jerusalem.

Since he did not know the documents’ significance, he asked a professor at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem to examine the scrolls of parchment. He recognized the value of the roles and acquired the remaining three roles of the businessman from Bethlehem. The other rolls made their way to the USA during the turmoil surrounding the founding of the State of Israel, where they were to be officially sold in 1953. The buyer was none other than the son of the professor who first recognized the documents – Yigael Yadin. The surviving scrolls and fragments from Cave 1 are now collected in the Shrine of the Book of the Israel Museum in Jerusalem, which was built for this purpose in 1962.

caves of qumran

Representation of the Caves of Qumran

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De Vaux only announced a selection of the finds; they were stored in Paris in disorder until 1994. He died in 1971 and left only a diary with unsystematic entries and no excavation report. Between 1965 and 1967, Solomon H. Steckoll uncovered twelve graves in the main cemetery. In 1967 a team led by RW Dajjani carried out two minor excavations at Qumran. From 1993 to 2004, Yitzhak Magen and Yuval Peleg conducted new excavations at Qumranthrough. They found a wide range of objects, including imported pottery, Nabataean utility pottery, glass, remains of metalworking, and evidence of pottery manufacture. From 1997 to 1999, the Israeli nature conservation authority had the ruins restored.

Water channels, cisterns, and mikvahs were measured, and the graves were counted. Brief excavations by Yizhar Hirschfeld in 2001 focused on a Roman-era building and a small late Iron Age tower discovered in 1999. In 2001, Magen Broshi and Hanan Eshel mapped the cemetery. In 2002 they excavated a small building at the east end of the cemetery where one male and two female skeletons were found. Six of the discovered caves (No. 4,5,7-10) are within sight of the settlement. They were in contrast to the natural karst caves. Humans layouts 1-3, 6, and 11.


The Dead Sea manuscripts comprise some 900 documents on parchment. Ancient biblical texts and commentaries were written by several Jewish groups alternating Jewish groups which rotated in the Qumran settlement. They were found between 1947 and 1956 in 11 caves around the Dead Sea. And dating back to the so-called Second Temple Period (597 BC – 70 AD).

The finds from the other caves were initially collected by John D. Rockefeller, jr., funded by the Archaeological Museum of Palestine in East Jerusalem. Jordan nationalized this museum in 1966; Israel captured East Jerusalem in the 1967 Six-Day War. Some of the Qumran finds, including the “Copper Scroll. ” And inkwells remained in the National Museum in Amman, where they were then displayed.