most stunning biblical archaeological find took place in 1947, when a young
Bedouin boy unknowingly discovered
a hoard of ancient manuscripts, the Dead Sea Scrolls high up in a cave at Qumran, on the western shore of the Dead Sea. Excavations led by Roland de Vaux have uncovered remains from five periods when the settlement of Qumran was inhabited. The vast scriptorium bears evidence of the scribes' work - transcribing texts from the Bible and other works written during the Second Temple era on leather, papyrus and copper. When Titus and the Roman legions arrived at Jericho, the Essenes, as the sect was known, fled, hiding their scrolls in the nearby caves. The desert kept their secret for almost 2,000 years. The discovery of the scrolls had an enormous effect on the Christian world, as they were transcribed during the time of the birth of Christianity. The scrolls which were discovered at Qumran are now housed in the Shrine of the Book at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem.