By Zev Radovan /

This aerial view of Khirbet Qumran shows the proximity of the site to some of the caves in which Dead Sea Scrolls were found. Caves 4 and 5 are located in the outcropping of the marl terrace visible just beyond the site. Despite the long-held opinion of many scholars that Qumran was the center of an Essene sect whose members wrote many of the scrolls found nearby, excavator Yizhak Magen claims that Qumran was a first-century pottery factory manned by only a few dozen workers with no connection to the scrolls discovered in the caves.