By Steve Kovacs (Introduction by Chuck Gibson)

LOVELAND, OH (February 7, 2024) – Today’s edition of Fun with Maps celebrates the discovery of the most ancient Biblical writings significant to scholars all around the world.


The first of the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered on February 7, 1947 in a cave near Khirbet Qumran, now part of the West Bank area.  Manuscript discoveries continued through 1956 with a total of 11 caves involved.  This area is now a national park, managed by Israel, and excavations continue to this day.

The group of manuscripts referred to as the Dead Sea Scrolls are almost 2000 years old.  Most are written in Hebrew, but very few are intact.  In all it is approximated that there are 980 different documents among the fragments.

The information contained in the writings has greatly enlarged our knowledge of Jewish Society in Israel in the Hellenistic and Roman times.  Although much of the information is biblical – over 200 copies of the Hebrew Bible were found – there are also sectarian writings that discuss community life.

Today almost all of the scrolls and many fragments are kept in the Shrine of the Book in the Israel Museum in Jerusalem, although an ownership dispute between Israel, Jordan, and Palestine is still unsettled.

This map of the Holy Land is by Elwe from 1792.  The Dead Sea is in the middle-left.  North is oriented to the right.

Holy Land from 1792 (Credit Steve Kovacs)

Steve Kovacs and his wife Theresa reside in Loveland, Ohio where they raised their two children. He is a passionate collector of antique maps.

Visit his antique map boutique world-on-paper online. Watch for his daily feature Steve Kovacs: Fun with Maps here on Loveland Beacon.