Located a few kilometers south of Jericho, in 1947 a beduin, having lost his goat, climbs and reach a cave where he found ceramic vessels. When he opened them he saw what is known today as the Dead Sea Scrolls, copies of all of the books of the Old Testament (except for the Scroll of Esther).
These papyrus are mainly written in Hebrew (image above, taken with my blackberry at the Israel Museum of Jerusalem), but there are many written in Aramaic. Aramaic was the common language of the Jews of Palestine for the last two centuries B.C. and of the first two centuries A.D. The discovery of the Scrolls has greatly enhanced our knowledge of these two languages. There are also a few texts written in Greek.
The most famous of these is the complete scroll of Isaiah (1000 years-old). The interesting about Isaiah is how he wrote about things that came only later than him, like the birth of Jesus, that there would be a son called God, that Babylon would be overthrown forever, that the Messiah would be rejected and preceded by a messenger, and several other facts… It is still unknown though the author of Isaiah’scroll (to me the most interesting part of the Bible)…
These scrolls obviously have historical significance because they depict for the first time the Ten Commandments, the oldest laws of that region, in fact this particular scroll is the best preserved ancient Bible text in the world, which is pretty amazing.
The Dead Sea Scrolls not only provide religious writing but also practical teachings such as the Copper Scroll, which is made of 1-millimeter thick copper sheet, this particular text looks more like a hunting secret list, listing over 60 loot-filled locations in the area. It also mentioned a treasure, which hasn’t been found. I wonder what kind of treasure that would be.