Newly-identified Dead Sea Scroll fragments were unveiled on Tuesday in Jerusalem at an international conference marking the 70th anniversary of the historic discovery. The remnants, which were stashed away in cigar boxes (as was regular practice at the time) since being unearthed in so-called Cave 11 near Wadi Qumran in 1956, are being described by experts as “game-changers” in their understanding of the scrolls. One piece of parchment in particular, written 2,000 years ago in an uncommon language, “could not be attributed to any one of the known manuscripts,” according to conference organizers, thereby “rais[ing] the possibility that it belonged to a still unknown manuscript.” The discovery in a series of caves in the 1940s and 1950s of the Dead Sea Scrolls—which date from the 3rd century BCE to the 1st century CE (the First and Second Temple eras)—and their subsequent restoration is considered one of the greatest-ever archaeological achievements. Overall, about 60,000 fragments, portions, or complete scrolls of some 800 manuscripts have been retrieved, containing texts found in the Hebrew Bible as well as many other religious writings.
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