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>> Archaeologists are once again excavating caves along the cliff edge of the Dead Sea, more than half a century after one of the most treasured troves of ancient scrolls was discovered there. Some 20 kilometers from Jerusalem, it was in these caves that the Dead Sea Scrolls were first found in the 1940s.
The collection of ancient scrolls, some more than 2,000 years old, provides insight into Jewish society and religion before and after the time of Jesus.>> I'm Reuters Rinat Harash in the Qumran area near the Dead Sea. Archaeologists thought their work in the caves here was exhausted years ago.
But now they've gone back in. Old treasures are popping up in the black market, suggesting there may be much more to find inside. Some even hope they may uncover gold from the ancient temple in Jerusalem. Now, some 60 years later, experts are once again chipping away. In the last few years, we noticed that new pieces of scrolls and parchments after the black market in the old city of Jerusalem, Bethlehem and Hebron.
And we realized that the Bedouin returned to the caves and started to dig again and to look for more scrolls and parchments. So it drives us to return to the caves and be ahead of them, hopefully, this time.>> But finding more scrolls won't be easy. There are hundreds of these caves and no one knows which may house antiquities.
This time, archaeologists are searching higher up. At about 200 meters above the level of the Dead Sea, this cave is higher than where the scrolls were found, which may or may not have made it an ideal hiding place. Towards the back of the cave is a narrow burrow, packed with debris from centuries of wind and flash floods.
When it's clear, it could extend about ten meters. Experts hope that they find lost antiquities in their original hiding place and not looted artifacts on the black market in Jerusalem's old city.