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Hunt for New Dead Sea Scrolls

Author: Zebulon Rogers

Israel is undertaking a massive new effort to find undiscovered Dead Sea Scrolls, according to Amir Ganor of the Israeli Antiquities Authority speaking to Jerusalem AP. According to the original report, a government sponsored research team will spend the next three years surveying hundreds of caves in the Judean Desert within the region of the Dead Sea, where the originals were discovered by a divine accident in 1947.


Section of Dead Sea Scroll. Baz Ratner/Reuters/File Photo

The latest effort came about due in part to the rise of illegal archaeological digs, which has caused an uptick in black market sales of antiquities Israel wants to prevent. In one such incident, Israel arrested six Palestinian men illegally excavating the Cave of the Skulls in 2014, spurring a three-week dig to preserve any undisturbed relics from further theft. The men were believed to have been digging for more Dead Sea Scrolls.

“We know there are more,” Ganor said. “Most of the places haven’t been reached.”

A previous attempt was made in 1993 to recover more scrolls from an area in the West Bank (an effort dubbed Operation Scroll) but a partial power transfer of the area from Israel to the Palestinian Authority dashed any hopes of new discoveries.

But scrolls aren’t the only thing archaeologists seek. According to Ganor, the team hopes that the three-year effort will uncover many other artifacts, some as old as 5,000 years, though no specific items of interest were stated. Eras of interest also include the first-century Jewish-Roman War and the second-century Bar-Kokhba revolt.

What artifacts are you hoping to see uncovered? Tell us in the comments below.

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