One of the most important archaeological discoveries of the twentieth century occurred by the Dead Sea in 1947. A young shepherd tossing stones in a cave struck old clay jars. He had discovered ancient treasure hidden in the caves of Qumran.
Between 1947 and 1956, scrolls and fragments from twelve caves were unearthed—now known as the Dead Sea Scrolls. Over 900 texts in Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek were found, including every book of the Hebrew Bible, except Esther and Nehemiah.The largest biblical scroll was an almost complete text of the book of Isaiah!
The Dead Sea Scrolls were 1,000 years older than what had previously been considered the oldest manuscripts of the Hebrew Bible. Many closely resemble the Masoretic Text of the Hebrew Bible preserved by Jewish scribes over the centuries.