Dozens of rare parchment fragments that are over 1,800 years old have been found in a remote cave in the Judean Desert.
“For the first time in approximately 60 years, archaeological excavations have uncovered fragments of a biblical scroll,” said local authorities, and they contained passages from the books of Zechariah and Nahum—portions of the Books of the Twelve Minor Prophets from the Hebrew bible and Old Testament.
The scroll was believed to be the writings of Jewish rebels who fled to the hills in Judea after the ancient Romans rebuffed one of their many revolts.
These discoveries have been uncovered as part of a daring official excavation by the Israeli Antiquities Authority (IAA) to prevent the cave from being looted by artifact hunters.
On the scrolls, most of the words are written in Greek—the local language following the conquest of the area by Alexander 500 years before—with only the word ‘God’ written in Hebrew.
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In a statement, IAA called the process a “complex and challenging” operation, and the finds “of immeasurable worth for mankind.”
Also discovered were a trove of ancient coins minted by the rebels attempting to create a stable state.
The mummified remains of a 6,000-year-old child, thought to be a girl, were also uncovered.
And a giant, woven basket was found. Suspected to be around 10,500 years old, it dates back to the Pre-Pottery Neolithic period and is thought to be the oldest completely intact basket in the world.
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The mouth of the cave is about 260 feet, or 80 meters, below the lip of a cliff, down which the excavators and scientists were required to abseil.
It’s the type of terrain feature in the Judean Desert that years ago revealed the remarkable Dead Sea Scrolls, and other relics found in the infamous ‘Cave of Horror’ that contained 40 skeletons.
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