Scrolls Missing from Newly-Discovered Dead Sea Cave

Entrance to the newly-discovered cave.  Image credit: CNN

Entrance to the newly-discovered cave.  Image credit: CNN

A newly-discovered cave on the Judean cliffside of the dead sea was found to have the accoutrement for storing scrolls, but not the scrolls themselves.  Among the artifacts found were pottery shards, broken scroll storage jars and lids, leather straps and cloth for binding scrolls, and even neolithic flint tools and arrowheads, but no documents were found at the site.  

Broken remains of storage jars that once housed the scrolls.  Image credit: Casey L. Olson and Oren Gutfeld

Broken remains of storage jars that once housed the scrolls.  Image credit: Casey L. Olson and Oren Gutfeld

Researchers point to pickaxes found in the cave to support the theory that Bedouin looters may have stolen the scrolls in the mid-twentieth century, leaving the storage materials behind.

"I imagine they came into the tunnel. They found the scroll jars. They took the scrolls," said Dr. Oren Gutfeld of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. "They even opened the scrolls and left everything around, the textiles, the pottery."

Dr. Gutfeld remains optimistic about further discoveries, noting that there are hundreds of caves yet to be explored in the region.

Tobias WaylandComment