Since when was Cave 1, actually Cave 1?

Written by Michael Moore

February 26, 2017

What is now known as Qumran Cave 1 today, was not always called by that name. 61 years ago when the cave was first discovered it quickly became known as the “Grotte des manuscrits” or “the manuscripts cave”. And indeed it was the “Scroll Cave” par excellance. It had it all. Biblical Scrolls. Sectarian Scrolls. Commentaries. Hymns, calendars and rule books. Images of the future battle and pseudepigraphic works discovered in their original languages for the first time.

There appeared to be a single copy of each of the essential volumes of one curious group’s library. Eleazar Sukenik first suggested the identification of the owners of these scrolls with a rather monastic Jewish order known as the Essenes, an identification subsequently affirmed by Roland de Vaux and a long list of others. Though some remained skeptical of this identification, subsequent discoveries worked in favor of the growing consensus.

It took a Bedouin shepherd looking for a stray sheep to discover the cave. He tossed a rock through a hole and this led to the most important set of manuscript discovery of the century.

Six years after the shepherd Muhammed edh-Dhib dicovered the “Grotte des manuscrits”, Bedouin discovered a second cave with scrolls a couple of hundreds to the south. It is only then that the first cave became “Cave 1”.

Try your hand at discovering a scroll cave.

Use your cursor to gaze around the rock faces for the cave. When you find the right hole, the cursor will change, you can click then and  go inside. Use your shift and control keys to zoom in and zoom out.

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