2,000-Year-Old Biblical Manuscripts Found in Judean Desert Cave
Part of the Book of the Twelve Minor Prophets scroll found in the Cave of Horrors in the Judean Desert, written in Greek. (Shai Halevi/Israel Antiquities Authority)

2,000-Year-Old Biblical Manuscripts Found in Judean Desert Cave

Fragments of a 2,000-year-old Biblical scroll have been discovered in a cave in the Judean Desert.

Other findings include 6,000-year-old skeleton of a child and the oldest complete basket in the world, the Israel Antiquities Authority announced on Tuesday. The scroll, which is written in Greek and dates to the end of the Bar Kokhba Revolt, includes portions of the Books of the Twelve Minor Prophets, including the books of Zechariah and Nahum. It is the first time in some 60 years that an ancient Biblical scroll has been unearthed.

The artifacts were retrieved from what has been dubbed the “Cave of Horror” in the Judean Desert reserve’s Nahal Hever. The cave, roughly 80 meters below the cliff top, is flanked by gorges and can only be reached by rappelling precariously down the sheer cliff.

The search of the hard-to-reach cave is part of a national operation aimed at preventing looting of antiquities in the Judean Desert.

“The aim of this national initiative is to rescue these rare and important heritage assets from the robbers’ clutches,” says Israel Antiquities Authority’s director Israel Hasson, who launched the national operation. “The newly discovered scroll fragments are a wakeup call to the state. Resources must be allocated for the completion of this historically important operation. We must ensure that we recover all the data that has not yet been discovered in the caves, before the robbers do. Some things are beyond value.”

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