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Archaeologists return to site of Dead Sea Scrolls discovery

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Archaeologists return to site of Dead Sea Scrolls discovery
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Archaeologists are returning to the site of the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls.

The original scrolls were found in caves in Qumran in the West Bank in 1947.

They gave insight into Jewish society and religion before and after the time of Jesus, and spurred a decade of exploration, before the search fizzled.

Recent finds have stirred fresh excitement however, and archaeologists are probing higher and deeper than before. Hundreds of caves remain unexcavated and the experts are racing against antiquities robbers.

"In the last few years we noticed new pieces of scrolls and parchments arrive on the black market," said Oren Gutfeld, an archaeologist at Hebrew University in Jerusalem.

"It drove us to return to the caves," he said, sitting at the entrance of a cliffside grotto known to his team as "52B".

In 2017 his team discovered remains of storage jugs in a previously-unexcavated cave at Qumran, though any scrolls they may have held were missing.