JERUSALEM — The discovery of four undisturbed, man-made caves in the chalky hills of Qumran, near where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found, has raised hopes of finding more of the ancient manuscripts.
The archeologists who announced the year-old discovery Friday are racing against time before the Qumran area of the West Bank is handed over to Palestinian control. Excavation is set to begin in November.
"I know we are running out of time," said Hanan Eshel, the archeologist from Bar Ilan University who discovered the caves. "A lot of things can happen: They may collapse, someone may loot them, or maybe the political situation will change."
The caves are not far from where Arab shepherds found the first Dead Sea Scrolls, ancient manuscripts that include poetry, legal texts and the earliest known sections of the Bible.