Community center of the Essenes who produced the famous Dead Sea Scrolls. They lived in natural caves in the adjoining cliffs, in tents, and in underground chambers cut in the soft marl. They gathered here for all the religious and economic activities of the sect. The well-preserved ruins, situated on a little plateau on the north-west shore of the Dead Sea. The Essenes had been forced to abandon the site as the result of military action in the days when Herod the Great fought for his kingdom 40-37BC .
They returned after some years to continue their monastic form of life until the Romans expelled them in AD68. They hid their Scriptures in eleven of the caves around their settlement. Two Bedouin shepherds discovered the scrolls in 1947, since then more than 400000 manuscripts and fragments, have been discovered. The scrolls are on exhibit at the Shrine of the Book and in the Israeli Museum and in the Rockefeller Museum