Magnificent and rare finds were discovered by the Israel Antiquities Authority in a challenging operation carried out in the Judean Desert Nature Reserve.
For the first time in approximately 60 years, archaeological excavations have uncovered fragments of a biblical scroll.
This unique operation exposed additional finds that were left behind by Jewish rebels who fled to the caves at the end of the Bar Kokhba Revolt, a cache of coins from the Revolt, a 6,000-year-old, partially mummified skeleton of a child wrapped in cloth, a huge intact basket and lid that, as far as we know, is the oldest basket in the world that has been found completely intact and much more!
The national project of surveying and excavating in the desert caves in the ravines of the Judean Desert has been undertaken since 2017 under the direction of the Israel Antiquities Authority, in cooperation with the Staff Officer of the Archaeology Department of the Civil Administration in Judea and Samaria. The project is funded by the Ministry of Jerusalem Affairs and Heritage.
Ever since the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered over 70 years ago, the desert caves have been targeted by antiquities looters. The climatic conditions inside the caves have enabled the exceptional preservation of scrolls and ancient documents, which are cultural heritage assets of immense importance. This is the rationale behind the execution of this operation – to rescue these rare and important heritage assets from the clutches of robbers.