More than 30 newly discovered 2,200-year-old skeletons could finally help to reveal who wrote the ancient Dead Sea Scrolls. Remains found near the site where the scrolls were discovered suggest the bodies were linked to an celibate Jewish brotherhood known as the Essenes.
The Dead Sea Scrolls have fascinated scholars and historians since the ancient texts were found around 70 years ago scattered within a series of caves in the West Bank. Thought to have been written between 200 BC and 100 AD, the scrolls inscribe some of the oldest known foundations of the Old Testament. Despite experts citing the texts as among the biggest archaeological finds of the 20th Century, their origins and authorship have remained a mystery for decades.
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The Essene were an ancient Jewish religious sect or brotherhood that flourished in Palestine from the 2nd century BC to the end of the 1st century AD.
The New Testament does not mention the groups, and ancient accounts from scholars and philosophers of the time sometimes differ in significant details.
This suggests a strong diversity among different Essene communities.
The sect clustered in small, monastic communities that generally excluded women.
Property was held in common and all details of daily life were regulated by officials.
The group's numbers were never large, with estimates putting them at some 4,000 at their peak.
Ever since their discovery, a number of suggestions have been put forward as to who created or oversaw the texts, including soldiers, craftsmen, people from the Iron Age, or Bedouins.
Now an analysis of remains found in 33 newly uncovered graves could help experts to understand the mysterious texts' history. Analyses of the bones support a previous theory that the scrolls were written or guarded by members of a celibate, all-male Jewish sect called the Essenes. The mysterious group flourished in Palestine from the 2nd century BC to the end of the 1st century AD.
Like the scrolls themselves, the graves were found in Qumran, an archaeological region in the West Bank along the northwestern shore of the Dead Sea. Anthropologists from the Israel Antiquities Authority in Jerusalem radiocarbon dated the bones, revealing they are about 2,200 years old, around the same age as the scrolls.
But it was not just the age of the bones that linked them to the ancient texts. All but three of the 33 skeletons were identified as probably male, based on factors such as body size and pelvic shape.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-5100831/Ancient-skeletons-reveal-wrote-Dead-Sea-Scrolls.html#ixzz4z4iGAxMo