A TALE OF TWO CAVES. The many caves found in the mountains and hills surrounding Qumran can be divided into two groups. The caves closest to the site were chiseled out by hand from the soft, marl sandstone upon which Khirbet Qumran was built (you can see the entrance to one of these caves, Cave 4, near the center of the photo). These caves, which were closer to the site and better ventilated, served as residences for some of Qumran’s inhabitants. Beyond the immediate sandstone terrace, however, stand the imposing and darkened limestone cliffs of Qumran, honeycombed with naturally formed caves that were used to hide many of the Dead Sea Scrolls.