They found ten other caves that contained thousands of ancient documents as well. One of the most significant discoveries was a well-preserved scroll of the entire book of Isaiah.One of the greatest treasures of ancient manuscripts had been discovered: the Dead Sea Scrolls. Scientists, using the radiocarbon dating method, dated the scrolls to range from the fourth century B. The famous Copper Scrolls were discovered in Cave 3 in 1952.
He collected seven of the best scrolls and left the other fragments scattered on the ground.Most variants were minor spelling differences, and none affected the meaning of the text.One of the most respected Old Testament scholars, the late Gleason Archer, examined the two Isaiah scrolls found in Cave 1 and wrote, "Even though the two copies of Isaiah discovered in Qumran Cave 1 near the Dead Sea in 1947 were a thousand years earlier than the oldest dated manuscript previously known (A. 980), they proved to be word for word identical with our standard Hebrew Bible in more than 95 percent of the text.The scrolls remained hidden for the next two thousand years.In 1947, a Bedouin shepherd named Muhammad (Ahmed el-Dhib) was searching for his lost goat and came upon a small opening of a cave.This community, which began in the third century B.C., devoted their days to the study and copying of sacred Scripture as well as theological and sectarian works.Scholars were anxious to confirm that these Dead Sea Scrolls were the most ancient of all Old Testament manuscripts in the Hebrew language. Unlike most of the scrolls that were written on leather or parchment, these were written on copper and provided directions to sixty-four sites around Jerusalem that were said to contain hidden treasure.Three types of dating tools were used: tools from archaeology, from the study of ancient languages, called paleography and orthography, and the carbon-14 dating method. When all the methods arrive at the same conclusion, there is an increased reliability in the dating. Paleographers studied the style of writing and arrived at dates raging from the third century B. So far, no treasure has been found at the sites that have been investigated.Muhammad eventually brought some of the scrolls to a cobbler and antiquities dealer in Bethlehem named Khando. Fragments from every Old Testament book except for the book of Esther were discovered.Khando, thinking the scrolls were written in Syriac, brought them to a Syrian Orthodox Archbishop named Mar (Athanasius) Samuel. Other works included apocryphal books, commentaries, manuals of discipline for the Qumran community, and theological texts.