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The Cave of Letters


In 1951 a set of Nabataean manuscripts surfaced in the Middle East. They were purportedly from Wadi Sayaal, on the west side of the Dead Sea. The manuscripts included some twenty items, Some of them were long (dozens of lines of text) and some were small. Ten of the items are precisely dated, and of these five are dated before 106 AD.

Later in 1961, Israeli archeologists exploring caves came across a cave that still contained a fragment of one of the earlier finds. This cave is now known as "The Cave of Letters."

The twenty odd items were all part of an archive of documents from the Babatha family, most of them dealing with family property.

While some of the research and translations of these texts are now coming out, to date there has been no comprehensive publication of these manuscripts.

A list of the contents of the Cave of letters can be found by following this link: Inventory of Cave of Letters


Nabataean Culture   Clothing
Desert Life   Coins
 The Price of Honor   Pottery
 Honor and Shame in a Middle Eastern Setting   Writing
 Nabataean Graffiti   The Multi-Alphabet Theory
 Writing Chart (Arabic base)  Writing Charts (German, English) 
 The Petra Scrolls  The Cave of Letters 
 Nabataean Pantheon of Gods  Burial Practices
 Block Gods  Nabataean Zodiac
 Making Sense of Middle Eastern Religion  Forms of Worship
 Deifying Leaders  Pre-Islamic Gods in Arabia header with menus