Archaeologists in Israel have discovered several 2,000-year-old biblical scroll fragments, a 6,000-year-old skeleton, ancient coins and what is thought to be the world’s oldest woven basket in a cave, the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) announced Tuesday.
The scroll fragments uncovered contain Greek translations of the biblical books of Zechariah and Nahum dating to somewhere around the 1st century AD, with only the name of God written in paleo-Hebrew, according to the Times of Israel.
From the fragments, researchers have so far managed to piece together 11 lines from Zechariah 8:16–17 and verses from Nahum 1:5–6, the outlet reported.
In the same cave, archaeologists also found several coins minted by Jewish rebels during the Bar Kochba revolt against the Roman Empire between 132 and 136 AD and arrowheads produced by them, the Associated Press (AP) reported.
Besides the coins, there also was a well-preserved 10,500-year-old woven basket, which experts think is the world’s oldest complete basket, and a 6,000-year-old mummified skeleton belonging to a child aged between 6 and 12 at the time of death.
A perfectly preserved large woven basket dating back some 10,500 years was unearthed in Israel’s Judean desert, and is likely the oldest such woven basket of its kind ever found.— The Jerusalem Post (@Jerusalem_Post) March 16, 2021
Reporting by @RossTercatin | #Archaeology | #Israel https://t.co/8TAFjCrqP6
The archaeologists made the discoveries in a site called the “Cave of Horrors” in Nahal Hever, southern Israel, when they were conducting a rescue operation to rescue antiquities in Judean Desert caves from thieves.
The cave is surrounded by gorges making it difficult for anyone to enter it except by rappelling down the cliff above, according to the Times of Israel.
It earned its name after excavations in the 1960s resulted in 40 human skeletons being found there, the AP reported.
The scroll fragments whose discovery was announced Tuesday are believed to be related to fragments discovered earlier in the 1950s in the same caves, the Times of Israel reported.