David Harris

At the edge of the Dead Sea in the desolate landscape surrounding Qumran, the Essenes dreamed of the Temple that would one day be built in Jerusalem. They wrote their precise vision of this Temple onto a scroll containing the laws by which they lived and would live. When the Romans threatened them in the first century A.D., the Essenes hid the scroll in a remote desert cave. Probably discovered by Bedouin, the scroll came into the hands of archaeologist Yigael Yadin in June 1967.

In this view of Qumran, we look east to the mountains of Moab across the Dead Sea. Atop the barren plateau parallel to the western shore of the sea, excavated remains mark the ritual baths and communal rooms of the Essenes.