NEW Dead Sea Scroll fragments have been discovered in what researchers call the ‘Cave of Horror’.
Israeli archaeologists say the fragments are at least 2,000 years old and were discovered in the Judean Desert.
New fragments of the ancient scrolls have been foundCredit: AP
Archaeologists found the new fragments in the ‘Cave of Horror’Credit: Israel Antiquities Authority / Yoli Schwartz
The famous Dead Sea Scrolls are ancient Jewish religious manuscripts that were first found in the Qumran Caves in the desert to the north of the Dead Sea.
They were first discovered around 1946 and are thought to date back to around the last three centuries BC.
The new scroll fragments are the first to be found in six decades.
The Israel Antiques Authority (IAA) revealed they’d been found in a dangerous cave in the Judean Desert during a mission to search all the caves in the area.
The first Dead Sea Scrolls were found around 70 years agoCredit: Getty – Contributor
The new fragments feature Greek translations of Jewish textsCredit: AP
Experts call it the ‘Cave of Horror’ and it’s located in Nahal Hever.
An Israel Antiquities Authority press release explained that the cave is “flanked by gorges and can only be reached by rappelling precariously down the sheer cliff.”
In addition to being dangerous to reach, 40 human skeletons were found at the cave during excavations in the 1960s.
The cave is in such a dangerous spot that excavators need to be tied onto the sidesCredit: Israel Antiquities Authority / Yoli Schwartz
The ancient remains were thought to belong to Jewish refugees hiding from the Bar Kokhba revolt.
This was a revolt of Jewish people living in the Roman province of Judea against the Roman occupation, thought to have happened around 132–136 AD.
The precious scrolls are around 2,000 years oldCredit: AFP
The new scroll fragments feature Greek translations of the books of Nahum and Zechariah that are in the Book of the Twelve Minor Prophets.
Experts have been searching caves in the Judean Desert since 2017 after the IAA went on a mission to find any more scrolls before they could be stolen.
The scrolls have all been found in caves in a desert near the Dead SeaCredit: AFP
The first scrolls were found accidentally by shepherds around 70 years ago.
It’s thought they were stashed away for safe keeping during Bar Kokhba revolt almost 2,000 years ago.
Researchers worked over an area of 50 miles and stepped into caves that may not have seen humans for 2,000 years.
They found a number of other artefacts including a mummified child and an ancient basket.
Experts have been rushing to find the scrolls before looters doCredit: Alamy
The Dead Sea Scrolls are actually made up of 900 manuscripts thought to be written by an ancient Jewish sect called the Essenes.
The Essenes are thought to have existed from the 2nd Century BC until the 2nd Century AD in Palestine.
Analysis of 33 skeletons buried at Qumran fit in with the theory that a religious sect of men created the scrolls.
Prior to this, it had been claimed a community of celibate priestly men lived near the Qumran Caves.
The skeletons, excavated in 2016, were definitely or most likely males, aged between 20 and 50 – or possibly older – when they died.
Scholars have been fascinated by the scrolls since their discovery.
The ancient parchments contain versions of the Hebrew bible, rules, calendars and even astronomy observations.
The Dead Sea Scrolls explained
The first examples of Dead Sea Scrolls are said to have been discovered in 11 caves along the northwest shore of the Dead Sea between 1946/47 and 1956.
There are around 981 different texts in total and almost all of the Hebrew Bible is represented in them.
The Dead Sea Scrolls include fragments from every book of the Old Testament except for the Book of Esther.
The majority of the Dead Sea Scrolls are in Hebrew, with some fragments written in the ancient paleo-Hebrew alphabet thought to have fallen out of use in the fifth century BC.
However some are in Aramaic, the language spoken by many Jewish people between the sixth century BC and the siege of Jerusalem in 70 AD.
Several texts feature translations of the Hebrew Bible into Greek, which some Jewish people used instead of or in addition to Hebrew at the time of the scrolls’ creation.
They have been translated into English and published digitally.
In other archaeology news, rare 16th century armour stolen from the most famous museum in Paris has finally been found 38 years later.
Medieval tunnels have been uncovered by electrical technicians working in a garden in south Wales.
New analysis of the remains of an ancient Egyptian pharaoh has revealed he may have been brutally murdered on the battlefield.
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