Part of the mystery of the Dead Sea Scrolls is unraveling. Via the Daily Mail (yes, I know it’s a tabloid rag, but they have good photos…):
It has been debated for centuries, but scholars think they are one step closer to discovering who wrote The Dead Sea Scrolls.
The world’s oldest known biblical documents may have been penned by a sect called the Essenes, according to scholars who studied material discovered in caves at Qumran, in the West Bank.
Scholars previously believed the 2,000-year-old scrolls were written by a Jewish sect from Qumran in the Judean Desert and were hidden in the caves around 70AD, when the Romans destroyed the temple in Jerusalem.
But this new research says that all the textiles are made of linen, rather than wool, which was the preferred textile used in ancient Israel.
The Dead Sea Scrolls consist of nearly 900 texts, the first batch of which were discovered by a Bedouin shepherd in 1947. They date from before A.D. 70, and some may go back to as early as the third century B.C.
Orit Shamir, curator of organic materials at the Israel Antiquities Authority, and Naama Sukenik, a graduate student at Bar-Ilan University, published their research comparing materials in journal Dead Sea Discoveries.
The pair compared the white-linen textiles found in the caves to other found elsewhere in ancient Israel, and they discovered some parts are being bleached white, even though fabrics from the period often have vivid colours, Live Science reports.
But not everyone agrees with their diagnosis…
[continues in the Daily Mail]