Dead Sea Scrolls: New Hypotheses on Origins After Analyzes of 33 Skeletons

The remains found in Qumran, in the West Bank. We investigate to understand who they were. “They are 2,200 years old, the same period in which the manuscripts were made. But they could also be the keepers.”

WHO were those 33 men? It was they who wrote the famous Dead Sea Scrolls, or were they just the protectors of the ancient manuscripts? A series of questions, which experts are trying to answer, arose after the announcement of the completion of the analyzes carried out on more than thirty skeletons discovered in the Judean desert, near Qumran in 2016 and on which they have now been completed exams. They come from the area that houses the caves where the famous Dead Sea Scrolls were found, composed of 900 documents including texts from the Hebrew Bible and found sixty years ago in eleven caves near the ruins of the ancient settlement of Khirbet Qumran. There are dozens of open questions about the value and creation of the texts that archaeologists and historians will now try to fill through the analysis of the latest findings: they are skeletons and remains of bones of dozens of men,

An international team of researchers, with support from the Israeli Antiquities Authority, performed radiocarbon analysis on the bones and estimated the men to be 2,200 years old, which aligns with the time the scrolls are thought to have been written. , between 150 BC and 70 AD. For this reason, scholars put forward the hypothesis, as explained by Yossi Nagar , an anthropologist of the Israeli Authority, that those people were “either the guardians of the scrolls or those who wrote them”. However, this is a subject to be explored in depth. Israel: new cave discovered which housed the Dead Sea Scrolls

West of Qumran, Israel, archaeologists from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem have unearthed numerous evidence of the Dead Sea Scrolls – the oldest known manuscripts of the Hebrew Bible – in particular fragments of the jars in which they were contained and of the laces. of leather that wrapped them. Dating from 150 BC-70 AD and found some sixty years ago, the scrolls consist of a thousand parchments, mainly in Hebrew, but also in Aramaic and Greek. Including numerous books of the Old Testament. Until now, archaeologists had established that the manuscripts, found by a Bedouin shepherd north-west of the Dead Sea between 1947 and 1956. Near the archaeological site of Qumran, had been deposited in 11 caves. “Oren Gutfeld of the Institute of Archeology of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem

The question of who made the scrolls for some time is in fact closely related to the question of who exactly were the inhabitants of Qumran. One theory is that the Qumran area was then populated by a Jewish sect. That of the Essenes who led the life of hermits and dedicated to celibacy. Other theories speak of Bedouin populations or even of Roman soldiers. For Nagar it is difficult to confirm. That the skeletons belonged to the Essenes but it is probable that they were celibate men”.

In fact, from the analysis of the size and shape of the pelvis. It appears that the remains all belonged to men. But further examinations will be necessary – in particular on three skeletons of which only a few parts remain. To confirm that there are also remains of women. or children. “What we think – adds Nagar – is that at the time of their death. They were between the ages of 20 and 50. Now, with the help of various experts, we really hope to be able to understand what they were. What their connection with the rolls “.


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