The Caves of Qumran

We traveled to the archaeological site of Qumran. This plaque says:

“In the summer of 1947, Bedouin shepherds were pasturing their flocks near the northwestern shore of the Dead Sea. While looking for a goat that had wandered off into the cliffs, they came across a curious rock crevice. When they threw a stone into a cave opening they found, they were surprised to hear a strange echo. They crawled inside, and in the dimness they spied large, whole jars standing on the floor. Inside the jars, they found folded pieces of leather, some of which were wrapped in cloth. That is how the secret of the Qumran scrolls began to be revealed.”

The Essenes were a Jewish sectarian movement who lived here for two centuries until the Bar Kochba revolt of 135.

At that time the site was abandoned.

The site was rediscovered in 1947 when Bedouins found seven ancient scrolls in a local cave.

“‘And the congregation shall watch in community for a third of every night of the year, to read the book and to study law and to bless together.’ (Community rule VI, 7-8). The members of the Qumran sect occupied themselves with studying the books of the Bible. Hundreds of pottery lamps were discovered in this room, validating the supposition that it was used for studying during the night.”

The area was excavated between 1951 and 1956 by Father Roland de Vaux who found additional scrolls.

A cistern to collect water. They paid great attention to ritual bathing and purity.

The caves served as a hiding place for their libraries and were discovered 2000 years later and included books of the Old Testament.

The Essenes were ascetics. They lived a communal life with dining halls and assembly halls.

The caves.

Of special interest was the same scriptorium, that is the writing room.


Qumran – The Story Of The Dead Sea Scrolls