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Dead Sea Scroll lost to history turns up over 6,000 miles away in US

A Dead Sea Scroll thought to be lost to history has now been rediscovered more than 6,000 miles away in the US.

The ancient fragment, estimated to be about 2,700 years old, is one of only three papyri remaining from the First Temple period.

But it was all but forgotten and could remain that way were it not for the death of Ada Yardeni, a scholar of the ancient Hebrew script, in 2018.

When asked to complete her unfinished book, Professor Shmuel Ahituv saw the fragment in a photo and launched a campaign to locate the missing parchment.

The papyrus was eventually found in the state of Montana, where the owner explained that his mother had received it as a gift during a visit to Jerusalem in 1965.

She had hung the fragment framed on her wall.

Unearthed: A Dead Sea Scroll thought to be lost to history has now been rediscovered more than 6,000 miles away in the US

Unearthed: A Dead Sea Scroll thought to be lost to history has now been rediscovered more than 6,000 miles away in the US

The ancient fragment, estimated to be about 2,700 years old, is one of only three papyri remaining from the First Temple period

The ancient fragment, estimated to be about 2,700 years old, is one of only three papyri remaining from the First Temple period

The ancient fragment, estimated to be about 2,700 years old, is one of only three papyri remaining from the First Temple period

Invited to the Holy Land, the current unnamed owner visited the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) laboratory where the Dead Sea Scrolls are kept, and agreed that it should remain there for future preservation.

“By the end of the First Temple period, writing was rife,” said Joe Uziel, director of the IAA Judean Desert Scrolls Unit.

‘However, documents from the First Temple period, written on organic material, such as this papyrus, have hardly survived.

“While we have thousands of scroll fragments dating to the Second Temple period, we only have three documents, including this newly found one, from the First Temple period.

“Each new document sheds more light on the literacy and governance of the First Temple period.”

The fragment itself is mysterious because it consists of only four torn lines that begin with the words “send to Ishmael…” in ancient Hebrew.

It is thought that the entire message was a series of instructions to the recipient.

Professor Ahituv, from Ben Gurion University of the Negev, said: ‘The name Ishmael mentioned in the document was a common name in the biblical period, meaning ‘God will hear’.

To confirm that the document was genuine, it was radiometrically dated at the Weizmann Institute in Rehovot, revealing the ancient family tree.

To confirm that the document was genuine, it was radiometrically dated at the Weizmann Institute in Rehovot, revealing the ancient family tree.

To confirm that the document was genuine, it was radiometrically dated at the Weizmann Institute in Rehovot, revealing the ancient family tree.

Invited to the Holy Land, the current unnamed owner visited the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) laboratory where the Dead Sea Scrolls are kept, and agreed that it should remain there for future preservation

Invited to the Holy Land, the current unnamed owner visited the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) laboratory where the Dead Sea Scrolls are kept, and agreed that it should remain there for future preservation

Invited to the Holy Land, the current unnamed owner visited the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) laboratory where the Dead Sea Scrolls are kept, and agreed that it should remain there for future preservation

1662653964 187 Dead Sea Scroll lost to history turns up over 6000

1662653964 187 Dead Sea Scroll lost to history turns up over 6000

The fragment itself is mysterious because it consists of only four torn lines that begin with the words “send to Ishmael…” in ancient Hebrew

“It first appears in the Bible as the name of the son of Abraham and Hagar, and it is subsequently the personal name of several persons in the Bible.

“It also appears as the name of officials on palaeographical finds such as bullae — clay-temple seals — used to seal royal documents in the rule of the kingdom of Judah.”

To confirm that the document was genuine, it was radiometrically dated at the Weizmann Institute in Rehovot, revealing the ancient family tree.

Experts believe the parchment likely came from the same caves in the Judean desert where the other Dead Sea Scrolls have been preserved for millennia by a dry, stable climate.

Experts believe the parchment likely came from the same caves in the Judean desert (pictured) where the other Dead Sea Scrolls were kept for millennia by a dry, stable climate

Experts believe the parchment likely came from the same caves in the Judean desert (pictured) where the other Dead Sea Scrolls were kept for millennia by a dry, stable climate

Experts believe the parchment likely came from the same caves in the Judean desert (pictured) where the other Dead Sea Scrolls were kept for millennia by a dry, stable climate

The fragment was later passed on by Joseph Sa’ad, curator of the Rockefeller Museum, and Halil Iskander Kandu, a noted antiquities dealer who sold thousands of fragments of Dead Sea Scrolls.

Now the document is preserved for future generations.

Eitan Klein, of the IAA’s Theft Prevention Unit, said: “Returning this document to Israel is part of the ongoing effort to protect and preserve the cultural heritage of the State of Israel.

“It is a heritage that belongs to all its citizens and plays a part in the story of the historical heritage of the country and its inhabitants through the ages.

“The legal and dignified place for this artifact is in the IAA Dead Sea Scrolls unit, and we are doing everything we can to collect additional fragmentary scrolls abroad and bring them to Israel.”

The Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered between 1946 and 1956 and date back 2,000 years

Discovered between 1946 and 1956, the Dead Sea Scrolls are a collection of 972 ancient manuscripts dating back to 2,000 years ago.

The texts include tens of thousands of parchment and papyrus fragments and in rare cases entire manuscripts.

They contain parts of what is now known as the Hebrew Bible, as well as a series of extra-biblical documents.

The scrolls were found by shepherd Muhammed Edh-Dhib while searching for a stray among the limestone cliffs at Khirbet Qumran on the shores of the Dead Sea in what was then British Mandate Palestine – now the West Bank.

The story goes that in a cave in the dark crevice of a steep rocky slope, Mohammed threw a stone into the dark interior and was startled to hear the sound of breaking pots.

The Dead Sea Scrolls, which contain tens of thousands of parchment and papyrus fragments (file photo), contain parts of what is now known as the Hebrew Bible.  They also contain a series of extra-biblical documents

The Dead Sea Scrolls, which contain tens of thousands of parchment and papyrus fragments (file photo), contain parts of what is now known as the Hebrew Bible.  They also contain a series of extra-biblical documents

The Dead Sea Scrolls, which contain tens of thousands of parchment and papyrus fragments (file photo), contain parts of what is now known as the Hebrew Bible. They also contain a series of extra-biblical documents

As he ventured inside, the young Bedouin found a mysterious collection of large clay pots in which he found ancient scrolls, some wrapped in linen and blackened with age.

The texts have since been unearthed by archaeologists, who are now rushing to digitize their contents before they become unreadable.

The texts are of great historical and religious significance and contain the earliest known surviving copies of biblical and extra-biblical documents, as well as preserving evidence of diversity in late Second Temple Judaism.

They date from between 408 BC. and 318 A.D. ch. and are written in Hebrew, Aramaic, Greek, and Nabatean, mostly on parchment, but some also on papyrus and bronze.

The roles are traditionally divided into three groups.

“Biblical” manuscripts, which are copies of texts from the Hebrew Bible, make up 40 percent of the catch.

The Dead Sea Scrolls were found by shepherd Muhammed Edh-Dhib while searching for a stray among the limestone cliffs at Khirbet Qumran on the shores of the Dead Sea

The Dead Sea Scrolls were found by shepherd Muhammed Edh-Dhib while searching for a stray among the limestone cliffs at Khirbet Qumran on the shores of the Dead Sea

The Dead Sea Scrolls were found by shepherd Muhammed Edh-Dhib while searching for a stray among the limestone cliffs at Khirbet Qumran on the shores of the Dead Sea

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