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Jericho was captured around 68 CE by the Roman Legion to quash the First Revolt of the Jews. Jerusalem was next, then Qumran on the Dead Sea where the village priests scrambled to hide their sacred texts in nearby caves. Fearing the Romans would destroy the last remaining copies of the Bible, this small group of ancient Israelites hid hundreds of parchment scrolls in the caves of the shear desert cliffs. The texts, now known as the Dead Sea Scrolls, almost certainly represent the beliefs and practices of the Essenes -- one of several Jewish religious parties existing at the time.

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