6,000-year-old child skeleton found in Israel's 'Cave of Horrors' along with ancient Dead Sea scrolls and world's oldest basket

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6,000-year-old child skeleton found in Israel's 'Cave of Horrors' along with ancient Dead Sea scrolls and world's oldest basket
Archeologists Hagay Hamer and Oriah Amichai at the 'Cave of Horror' in the Judean Desert, Israel.Eitan Klein/Israel Antiquities Authority
  • Archaeologists found the child's preserved skeleton naturally mummified in the dry cave.
  • The "Cave of Horrors" takes its name from the 40 skeletons found during excavations in the 1960s.
  • A CT scan revealed the child was 6 to 12 years old. The child is thought to have been a girl.

Archaeologists have discovered the 6,000-year-old skeleton of a child in the "Cave of Horrors" in Israel's Judean Desert alongside ancient Dead Sea scrolls as well as what may be the world's oldest basket.

The Cave of Horrors takes its name from the 40 skeletons found there during excavations in the 1960s. Researchers found the child's remains naturally mummified in the dry atmosphere of the cave, which can be accessed only by climbing ropes.

A CT scan revealed that the child, who had skin, tendons, and even hair partially preserved, was between 6 and 12 years old, according to Smithsonian Magazine. The child is thought to have been a girl.

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"It was obvious that whoever buried the child had wrapped him up and pushed the edges of the cloth beneath him, just as a parent covers his child in a blanket," Ronit Lupu, a prehistorian at the Israel Antiquities Authority, said in a statement. "A small bundle of cloth was clutched in the child's hands."

The skeleton was found along with ancient Dead Sea scrolls, which are among the earliest texts written in Hebrew.

6,000-year-old child skeleton found in Israel's 'Cave of Horrors' along with ancient Dead Sea scrolls and world's oldest basket
Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) archaeologist Naama Sukenik at the Naama Sukenik shows the world's oldest basket in Jerusalem, on March 16, 2021.Menahem Kahana/AFP via Getty Images
The newly discovered fragments of the 2,000-year-old scrolls are Greek translations from the biblical books of Nahum and Zechariah, found in the Book of the 12 Minor Prophets in the Jewish Tanakh.

The only Hebrew included in the text, however, is the name of God, The Independent noted, and the scrolls are thought to have been hidden during a Jewish revolt against Rome, NBC News added.

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What appears to be the world's oldest recovered basket, dating back 10,000 years, was also found, as were arrowheads and coins thought to be from the Bar Kochba revolt period in other caves, The Guardian reported.

The authority commissioned the excavation back in 2017 following reports of plundering by looters, The Guardian noted.

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