In what they described as “one of the most exciting archaeological discoveries…in 60 years,” Hebrew University archaeologists say they have found a twelfth cave containing remnants of casings and jars that once contained Hebrew-language religious scrolls that were part of the Dead Sea Scrolls.

The Dead Sea Scrolls are a collection of 981 texts found between 1946 and 1956 in caves near Khirbet Qumran, in the eastern West Bank along the shores of the Dead Sea.

A Hebrew University announcement says:

Excavations in a cave on the cliffs west of Qumran, near the northwestern shore of the Dead Sea, prove that Dead Sea scrolls from the Second Temple period were hidden in the cave, and were looted by Bedouins in the middle of the last century. With the discovery of this cave, scholars now suggest that it should be numbered as Cave 12.

The excavators are the first in over 60 years to discover a new scroll cave and to properly excavate it.

The announcement quotes Dr. Oren Gutfeld, one of the cave’s discoverers, saying, “This is one of the most exciting archaeological discoveries, and the most important in the last 60 years, in the caves of Qumran.”

This remnant of a casing for a two-millennia-old scroll was found in "Cave 12" at Qumran and, archaeologists say, belongs to the Second Temple-period Dead Sea Scrolls, February 8, 2017. (Courtesy Hebrew University)

This remnant of a casing for a two-millennia-old scroll was found in “Cave 12” at Qumran and, archaeologists say, belongs to the Second Temple-period Dead Sea Scrolls, February 8, 2017. (Courtesy Hebrew University)

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