Archaeologists Had Forgotten About Nine of the Dead Sea Scrolls

For the past 60 years, these Dead Sea Scrolls had just been sitting around in a storeroom

A fragment of the known Dead Sea Scrolls. Israel Antiquities Authority

Discovered in 1947, the Dead Sea Scrolls are a stash of some 800 or so documents that, together, record the tales of the Old Testament, a foundational scripture of Judaism and Christianity. The scrolls were written more than 2,000 years ago, scrawled on hide and papyrus and engraved in copper. They survived to the modern era hidden in a cave outside Qumran, along the West Bank of the Dead Sea. The scrolls are a precious artifact, a relic of human history, and in recent years they've been digitized and put online.

But the knowledge gleaned from the Dead Sea Scrolls has been incomplete—partly because the scrolls degraded with time, but also because... we lost a few of them.

Don't worry! Archaeologists found them again.

In a storeroom in Israel, says the Independent, archaeologists found nine “new” Dead Sea Scrolls that had just been sort of sitting around for the past 60 years.

The minuscule fragments, each measuring no more than half a centimetre across rolled up, are set to be unravelled by experts from the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) – and could provide scholars with significant insights into life in an ancient world.

The nine new scrolls were collected along with the others, but somewhere along the line archaeologists had just lost track of them. “Either they didn’t realise that these were also scrolls, or they didn’t know how to open them,” said the head of the Israel Antiquities Authority's Dead Sea Scrolls project to the Times of Israel.

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