Ari Rabinovitch, Reuters

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Archaeologists Revive Search for Ancient Dead Sea Scrolls

Volunteers and archaeologists work at an archaeological dig near caves in the Qumran area in the Israeli-occupied West Bank. Jan. 15, 2019. REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun

In the cliffs high above the Dead Sea archaeologists chip away with pick axes, hoping to repeat one of the most sensational discoveries of the last hundred years - the finding of the Dead Sea Scrolls.

The scrolls, a collection of manuscripts, some more than 2,000 years old, were first found in 1947 by local Bedouin in the area of Qumran, about 20 km east of Jerusalem.

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.