The latest fragments come from a scroll that was first discovered in the so-called Horror Cave, south of Ein Gedi in Israeli territory. Written in Greek by two scribes, it dates from the period of the Bar Kokhba revolt, almost 1,900 years ago, when Jewish rebels fled with their families and hid from the Romans in the caves.

The Romans discovered and besieged the refugees in the Horror Cave until they starved to death there. The first archaeologists to arrive in the last century found their skulls and bones placed in baskets in the cavern.

The new fragments contain verses from Zechariah 8:16-17, including part of the name of God written in ancient Hebrew, and verses from Nahum 1:5-6, both from the biblical Book of the Twelve Minor Prophets.

Experts managed to reconstruct 11 lines of text from Zechariah, including the verses, “These are the things you are to do: Speak the truth to one another, render true and perfect justice in your gates. And do not contrive evil against one another, and do not love perjury, because all those are things that I hate — declares the Lord.”

Oren Ableman, a member of the Antiquities Authority team who conserved and studied the new fragments, described the artifacts as “another small piece of the puzzle of the past.”

Speaking in the laboratories of the Israel Museum in Jerusalem where the fragments were displayed for reporters on Tuesday morning, he said the concept of equal justice for all was laid out in these verses that “are read by people and are meaningful to people to this very day.”

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