A Bedouin shepherd got here throughout the primary of the traditional scrolls in 1947. He discovered them saved in jars in a collapse Qumran close to the northern tip of the Lifeless Sea. Some have been bought to a monastery and others to an antiquities supplier in Bethlehem. As soon as their authenticity had been established, archaeological expeditions and antiquity robbers adopted and emptied the caves of no matter they might discover.
However many years later, the Judean Desert nonetheless had extra secrets and techniques to surrender.
Amid indicators that robbers have been nonetheless searching for and hawking artifacts from the world, elements of that are tough to achieve and govern, the Israeli authorities determined to hold out a methodical, complete survey of the cliffs, gorges and caves starting in 2017.
“The archaeologists all the time used to chase after the robbers,” stated Amir Ganor, who leads the Antiquities Authority’s theft-prevention unit. “We determined it was maybe time to get forward of the robbers.”
Aided by trendy instruments similar to drones that would search each nook and cranny, three groups made up of 4 folks every mapped and scoured about 50 miles of cliff face working the size of the Lifeless Sea.
Entry to a few of the caves would have been simpler in historical instances. Folks knew how one can navigate the animal paths, Mr. Ganor stated, and as a substitute of rappelling, they might have used rope ladders for distant caverns. However over 2,000 years, elements of the terrain have collapsed, creating deep chasms.
The West Financial institution was underneath Jordanian management from 1948 till Israel captured the world within the 1967 Center East battle. It’s now divided between Israeli and partial Palestinian management. However the 1967 boundary didn’t exist in antiquity, Mr. Ganor stated, and the archaeologists handled the Judean Desert as one unit for the needs of the survey.
Within the MurabBa’at caves, in what’s now the West Financial institution, the archaeologists turned up a trove of artifacts. That included the basket and a cache of uncommon cash from the times of the Bar Kokhba revolt, minted with Jewish symbols similar to a harp and date palms.