In the year 790, a Bedouin hunter’s dog chased its prey into the mouth of a cave in the rocky cliffs near the Dead Sea. Inside, the hunter discovered jars containing scrolls written in Hebrew, including books of the Bible. These events are recorded in a letter written by Timothy I in 800 CE, anticipating the 1946 rediscovery at Qumran of the ancient texts we now know as the Dead Sea Scrolls. Now, a new team of excavators is completing their third dig season high at Qumran.
“The Bedouin were not the first ones to find the scrolls in 1947,” said Dr. Oren Gutfeld, co-director of the Cave 53-Qumran Excavation.
No one knows the location of the particular cave described by Timothy as being in the vicinity of Jericho. It may have been one of the 11 caves that held the 900 manuscripts and 15,000 fragments that have been unearthed since the Qumran community hid them from the Romans in 68 CE. But Timothy’s cave may still be waiting to be discovered. The previous two excavations by Gutfeld’s team bear out the possibility of overlooked artifacts.
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