Qumran on the northwest shore of the Dead Sea became famous since 1947 when a number of ancient manuscripts - the Dead Sea Scrolls - were found by
Bedouin shepherds in 1947 in nearby caves and where the Essenes are said to have lived.
Israeli archaeologists now argue that Qumran "lacks any uniqueness."
Two Israeli archaeologists, Yuval Peleg and Itzhak Magen, have recently completed ten seasons of excavations at Qumran, sponsored by the Civil
Administration of Judea and Samaria. These are the most extensive digs since those conducted by Roland de Vaux half a century earlier. Among the finds
were numerous pieces of jewelry, imported glass and expensive stone cosmetics containers.
"It's impossible to say that the people who lived at Qumran were poor," said Peleg. "It is also impossible that de Vaux did not see the finds we
saw. He simply ignored what didn't suit him."
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According to Israeli archaeologists, the site that has been called "the oldest monastery in the Western world," was nothing more than an ordinary
Even today, 98 or 99 percent of scholars still believe that Qumran was an Essene monastery.
The latest research joins a growing school of thought attempting to explode the "Qumran myth" by stating that not only did the residents of
Qumran live lives of comfort, they did not write the scrolls at all.
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