Mysteries and the sea seem to go hand in hand and you have already learn about ghost ships, rogue waves, Lochness monster and the Bermuda triangle. Yet there is another mystery which isn’t exactly buried under the ocean but gets its name from its proximity to equally strange body of water – the Dead Sea (please note that it is not the sea of the dead but the Dead Sea). So what is this Dead Sea and what is the mystery surrounding it – just read on this interesting article to find out.
Dead Sea Facts
The Dead Sea is basically the name give to a salt water lake which lies between Jordan and Israel. It is named so because it has extremely high quantities of salts present in the water which are nearly 8 times than the normal sea water, having more than 33% salt. Obviously such high content of salt makes it nearly impossible for normal aquatic animals to survive or exist. Hence being devoid of any form of marine life it has been christened as the Dead Sea.
Despite lacking in marine life, the Dead Sea is certainly a storehouse of minerals and its water is claimed to have therapeutic properties because of the presence of various minerals. It has become a popular health resort and people travel to the place from different nooks and corners of the globe to have a dip in the Dead Sea.
Also keep in mind that when I say high salt content I am not referring to the Sodium Chloride which is found in normal sea water (97%). Dead Sea rather has very less NaCl of the order of 12% while there are a dozen other salts such as Bromine, Calcium, Magnesium and other ions which give it the unique properties.
Last but not least if you are standing near the shores of the Dead Sea, just know that you at the lowest point on the Earth’s surface
The Mystery of the Dead Sea Scrolls
Actually the mystery I am talking about isn’t exactly within the Dead Sea but gets its name from the latter. You must have read in story books, kids’ cartoons or Hollywood movies about simple goat herders going into the forest to graze their goats and ending up finding some precious treasure in the remote jungle. The story I am going to narrate is typically a movie blockbuster story with only one difference – each word of it is true and not fiction.
It so happened that in the year January 1947, a young goat herder by the name Juma was grazing goats in a hilly region near the north-western shore of the Dead Sea. He had climbed on the top of a cliff to search for a goat when he realized something strange about the barren caves that were present in hundreds in the region. Probably he was mystified and did not gather the courage to go inside and check out for himself so he narrated this to two of his close friends. Since it was getting dark, they decided to come back the next day and see whether everything was ok inside the cave.
The next day when the cave was explored, they found nothing except very old manuscripts which were kept in an old jar. There were not much pleased about this discovery as they were probably expecting gold, but little did they realize that they had infact stuck diamond.
I will not go into the minor details but later on, as the word about those manuscripts spread, it was found by researchers and archeologists that the manuscripts found casually from the cave were infact one of the earliest known manuscripts, possibly written even before the birth of Christ..
These manuscripts or scrolls are hence known by the name of Dead Sea Scrolls and a lot of research is still being carried out on them. Its speed has been bit slow, because of the political situation in the region. The scrolls have been dated by researchers as belonging to a period between 125 BC to 68 AD, and they contain valuable information regarding Biblical Information and other related information. Expert teams searched after this initial discovery and till date more than 900 of these manuscripts have been found.
I do not know whether the shepherds who found these manuscripts could become rich like movies, but whatever be the result, they certainly gave the world a great gift, which archeologists, scientists, researchers and humanity in general, will remember them for long.
Dr Will Varner, President IBEX
The National Geographic