One of the remaining encrypted Dead Sea Scrolls has been deciphered. Its information is staggering.
Over the course of an entire year, scientist Eshbal Ratson and prof. Jonathan Ben-Dov from the University of Haifa analyzed 60 fragments of the scroll, in order to restore it and read its contents.
After analyses it became clear that the manuscript contained information about a unique calendar, consisting of 364 days total. Its authors were likely members of the Essene sect, who had inhabited the Judaean Desert in ancient times.
The researchers have gleaned a wide wealth of information about the sect's calendar from the manuscript. It contains the names of special holidays that were not mentioned in the Bible. These include the festivals of New Wine and New Oil, which are celebrated as extensions of the first wheat harvest.
This new wheat harvest is marked 50 days after the first Sabbath following Passover. The New Oil festival comes after it.
Interestingly, the manuscript shows evidence of a second person's handwriting. That person had added the missing dates to the calendar. The researchers utilized his notes, which he had used to fill in the original author's omissions.
The Dead Sea Scroll manuscripts were discovered in 1947 in the Qumran Caves, located near the Dead Sea's shores. 900 fragments have been found to this day, all authored by the ancient Judaic sect. Written in the ancient Judeo-Aramaic language, they are the oldest surviving copy of the Bible.
A great part of the manuscripts are Biblical texts. The rest are notes about the daily lives and goings-on of the people at the time, as well as their religious celebrations, as was made evident by the latest deciphered scroll.