Fifty items in approximate chronological order, oldest artifacts first.
33. Dead Sea Scrolls
The Dead Sea Scrolls are the largest collection of ancient biblical manuscripts ever found. Representing all books of the Hebrew Bible except Esther, they were found in Israel near the settlement of Qumran next to the Dead Sea between 1947 and 1956. In addition to copies of biblical books, other texts such as biblical commentaries are also included in the collection. (There is even a treasure map called the Copper Scroll, though no treasure has ever been found.) Originally written primarily in Hebrew* on parchment (animal skin) and on papyrus (a paper-like material) in c. 200 BC to AD 70, they are now for the most part located in the Shrine of the Book, a wing of the Israel Museum in Jerusalem.** The Psalms Scroll is shown above; to see a photo of the Copper Scroll, click "Read more" below. To go to the Dead Sea Scrolls online site click this link: Dead Sea Scrolls online .
*In addition to Hebrew, a smaller percentage are written in Aramaic and Greek. **Various limited portions exist in different locations. For example, the Copper Scroll is located in the Archaeological Museum in Amman, Jordan.
PHOTO RELEASED TO THE PUBLIC DOMAIN: Israel Antiquities Authority (Thank you).