One discovery led to another, and eleven scroll-yielding caves and a habitation site eventually were uncovered.
Since 1947 the site of these discoveries-the Qumran region (the desert plain and the adjoining mountainous ridge) and the Qumran site have been subjected to countless probes; not a stone has remained unturned in the desert, not an aperture unprobed.
The new method requires only a pinhead-size sample, Broshi explained.
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We report on new 14C measurements of samples of 18 texts (scrolls) and 2 linen fragments from Qumran Caves 1, 2, and 4 and from Na al ever, both in the Dead Sea region.
The radiocarbon results are in good agreement with estimates of age based on paleography.
When something dies, it stops taking in carbon (ie stops eating or photosynthesizing or whatever) and the C14 slowly decays, making less C14 in an old dead thing than a live thing.
The Dead Sea Scrolls refer to ancient Hebrew scrolls that were accidentally discovered in 1947 by a Bedouin boy in Israel's Judean Desert. E.) - a time of crucial developments in the crystallization of the monotheistic religions.
The methods tested included an acid wash, different concentrations of acid-base-acid (ABA) pretreatments, the current routine ABA method applied at the Oxford Radiocarbon Accelerator Unit (ORAU) that includes an additional bleach treatment, and extraction of collagen.
These celebrated texts are of unique historical and religious significance.
The 800-plus manuscripts - written on papyrus or animal skin, and discovered in caves by the Dead Sea in the late 1940s and 1950s - include virtually the only known surviving Biblical documents written before the second century.
Find out more Enlarged image Zoomable high-resolution image The Dead Sea Scrolls are a collection of 800-900 documents, many containing ancient Biblical texts.
Some are in tantalising fragments (there are over 50,000 individual pieces in all).