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Lack of funding has been the main halting factor when it comes to the Israel Antiquities Authority’s ability to scout the depths of the Judean desert for the likely treasures of history. Yet to deter widespread looting, Israel Hasson, IAA Director, has led the charge to keep exploring the hard-to-reach caves, likely laden with artifacts. Their dedication is apparent, and necessary, based on their most recent finding, which required using drones and rappelling equipment to access the caves burrowed into the side of deep desert caverns.
The team dug into “The Cave of Horrors” and to their delight, produced some valuable findings. They found dozens of bible fragments, a 10,500-year-old handwoven basket, a 6,000-year-old skeleton. The biblical scrolls are written in Greek and are from the books of Zechariah and Nahum. Only the name of God is written in Hebrew. Since the discovery of the dead sea scrolls almost 70 years ago, the Judean desert has been a site for rampant looting.
Hasson says, “The newly discovered scroll fragments are a wake-up call to the state. Resources must be allocated for the completion of this historically important operation. We must ensure that we recover all the data that has not yet been discovered in the caves before the robbers do. Some things are beyond value.”
“The desert team showed exceptional courage, dedication, and devotion to purpose, rappelling down to caves located between heaven and earth, digging and sifting through them, enduring thick and suffocating dust, and returning with gifts of immeasurable worth for mankind.”