Qumran is the name of the settlement closest to the caves which held the Dead Sea Scrolls. Many scholars believe that Qumran was the settlement of a sect known as the Essenes, although the exact truth is unknown; several theories have been discussed, such as the location originally being a fortress or commercial center. The Dead Sea Scrolls were found in eleven different caves, some accessible from Qumran itself, others simply nearby. A cemetery was found nearby as well, with possibly thousands of bodies, although only a few have been excavated, since Jewish law forbids the excavation of cemeteries. Many things are unknown about Qumran; for instance, guesses as to the number of people who lived in the area range from 200 to over a thousand. It is interesting to note that there were over 900 scrolls discovered in the area, not all of which were from the Bible; some were doctrinal scrolls, which is the greatest evidence in favor of Essene theory.

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Qumran Community

Qumran Community
by Berthold Werner, via Wikimedia Commons

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