Israeli researchers have discovered new information about the origins of the Dead Sea Scrolls after a seven-year study on DNA samples extracted from the Dead Sea Scrolls themselves. The research showed that a number of the scrolls did not originate in the Dead Sea area where the Essenes, the ancient Jewish sect of scholars dwelled but were in fact brought from other areas far away from Qumran.
Researchers came to this conclusion by analyzing the DNA of the animal skin on which the scrolls were penned. It was also discovered that two fragments from the Book of Jeremiah were written down on cowhide and since cows weren’t found in the Judean area, it had to come from outside the region. This research has enabled scientist distinguish between scrolls written by the Jewish sect of the Essenes, and which were brought in from the wider Jewish world at the time.
The researchers are continuing in their analysis of the scrolls to gain more insight of the different types of animal hides used to create the scrolls. It will also enable them to distinguish between forgeries and the real thing.