Dead Sea Scrolls Authors May Be "Humble" Religious Sect
Some of the Dead Sea Scrolls may have been written by a Jewish sect known as the Essenes, according to 200 textiles found by researchers from the Israel Antiquities Authority and Bar-Ilan University.
"They wanted to be different than the Roman world," Orit Shamir, curator of organic material at the authority, told LiveScience via telephone. "They were very humble, they didn't want to wear colorful textiles, they wanted to use very simple textiles."
The textiles were found in caves at Qumran, in the West Bank, where the scrolls were discovered, and made of linen rather than wool, which was the preferred ancient Israelite textile, and undecorated and bleached white instead of the vivid colors often found from the era.
The Dead Sea Scrolls are 900 texts discovered near Qumran by a Bedouin shepherd in 1947, according to LiveScience. They are dated from before A.D. 70 and go back to as far as the third century B.C. They include early copies of the Hebrew Bible, hymns, calendars and psalms.
Shamir compared the white-linen textiles to other found in ancient Israel, and discovered that after being used for clothing, the textiles were often torn apart and re-used for purposes such as packing the scrolls.
The results appeared in the most recent issue of the journal Dead Sea Discoveries.