JERUSALEM — Israeli researchers unveiled on Tuesday dozens of newly discovered Dead Sea Scroll fragments containing biblical texts dating back nearly 2,000 years, adding to the body of artifacts that have shed light on the history of Judaism, early Christian life and ancient humankind.
The parchment fragments, ranging from just a few millimeters to a thumbnail in size, are the first in about 60 years to have been unearthed in archaeological excavations in the Judean Desert. They were found as part of a four-year Israeli national project to prevent further looting of antiquities from the remote caves and crevices of the desert east and southeast of Jerusalem, which straddles the boundary of Israel and the occupied West Bank.
The project turned up many other rare and historic finds, including a large woven basket with a lid that has been dated to approximately 10,500 years ago and may be the oldest such intact basket in the world. The archaeologists also found a 6,000-year-old, partially mummified skeleton of a child buried in the fetal position and wrapped in a cloth.
fragments of the scrolls.
academic debate around the world.
The arid conditions of the Judean Desert provided a unique environment for the natural preservation of artifacts and organic materials that would ordinarily not have withstood the test of time.