Photos by Christine Dalenta, University of Hartford

The excavators returned in 2002 and uncovered the skeleton of a 35 to 45-year-old man, oriented east-west—though all the other ancient burials at Qumran are oriented north-south. Early news reports claimed that the skeleton was possibly that of John the Baptist! Authors Magen Broshi and Hanan Eshel, two of the leaders of the present Qumran excavation, offer a more measured assessment of the skeleton’s significance.