The Dead Sea Scrolls are an ancient set of texts which contain part of the Holy Bible. Thought to be perhaps the original version of some religious and historical texts, their origin and history are matters of peaked human interest. The world faiths of Judaism, Islam, and Christianity all take scripture from the original Hebrew writings that date to several periods in time BC.
A popular theory is that the people who wrote and then hid the scrolls within the area now known as West Bank in the Middle East were the Essenes. This mystical sect of individuals have roots that share similarity to Judaism at the time, and it's believed by some that many of the apostles of Christ could have been Essenes.
The location of the scroll findings, named Qumran, was founded nearly three thousand years ago and its peoples have changed in culture over this time due to the changing world powers in various points in history. The Essenes were present in Qumran during pre-biblical times which does suggest a likely candidacy for the origin of the scrolls.
New skeletons were uncovered in the same area recently, and these have been studied in great detail. Bone samples were taken and tested, and the skeletal remains were examined in situ. A lot more detail has been uncovered about the people who were in the area at the time of the scrolls, since the skeletons have been found to be of the same age.
The most interesting factor in the remains is that every skeleton is considered to be from a male. A few children were discovered too, however the all male population suggests that the area was used differently to a usual community. Men dominated certain trades and the military has traditionally always been male for Roman culture which was also thriving during the same period.
This leads archaeologists to conclude that the keepers of the Dead Sea Scrolls could have been a male religious sect, possibly practicing celibacy like the members of Byzantine monasteries which began to appear around 330AD. Perhaps it is a cemetery for traders who could have acquired the scrolls in some form of transaction. Another theory suggests that a military cemetery was built there, and the scrolls could have been spoils of war or taxation however none of the skeletons showed signs of war trauma or unusual mortality in early life.
Once the bones had been examined, and determined to be of the same age as the scrolls and all from males, they were respectfully buried in the spot they were found in. Knowing more about the people who lived in the area where the Dead Sea Scrolls were hidden in a set of caves in Qumran, can help scholars, theologians, and laypeople alike to feel a little closer to the books which frame so many aspects of our lives.
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