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Qumran (Khirbet Qumran) is located on a desolate terrace between the hills of the Judean desert and the flats of the Dead Sea in Israel. Occupied by different cultures throughout antiquity, Qumran was inhabited by a communal sect of Jews known as the Essenes from the second half of the second century BC until Roman conquest in 68 AD.

Qumran consists of one large communal building and smaller rooms dedicated to writing, storage, and other tasks associated with a self-sufficient community. The ruins also include cisterns, pottery kilns, and an elaborated water-collecting system. Thousands of ceramic jars and pots have also been discovered there.

The structure and function revealed in the ruins of Qumran are strong evidence that the Essenes were religious scribes maintaining a library of Jewish manuscripts. As such, Qumran has become the strongest candidate for the origin of the numerous scrolls and fragments hidden in the local hills that are now popularly known as the Dead Sea Scrolls.

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