The earliest Bible manuscripts have been found in the desert sands of the Arabian Peninsula, and scientists say they could tell us much about life in the ancient world.
The texts, found by a group of archaeologists and biblical scholars in the Saudi Arabian desert, were found in a small cave dating to around AD 700.
They include some of the earliest known Bible manuscripts, which were written in the form of short, hand-written texts, but many of them also include more complex instructions on how to use animals, and how to make a pottery pot.
According to a report by Reuters, the manuscripts were among a collection of more than 3,000 found in ancient tombs and archaeological digs in the deserts of Saudi Arabia, where they are believed to have been buried during the era of the Islamic empire.
They were uncovered in a cave in the Jizan Desert, which is about 80km (50 miles) from the capital, Riyadh, and has been nicknamed the Desert of the Dead because of its deep water.
The researchers, led by Dr Ziyad Khazali, said that the ancient manuscripts were very rich in detail and they have revealed a wealth of information about how animals were raised and how crops were cultivated.
“These ancient manuscripts show us the beginnings of the life of an ancient people,” Dr Khazalili said in a statement.
“They also show us how agriculture was used to help them survive the harsh conditions in their harsh environment.”
“These are the first surviving manuscripts of the Bible, written in Aramaic, a language known for its ancient origins and culture.”
The ancient texts reveal the life and daily life of the ancient inhabitants of the area.
They provide us with insights into their culture and history,” he added.
The team’s findings were published in the journal Antiquity.
The discoveries were made by Saudi archaeologists in the northern city of Jizann, which has a population of around 100,000 people.
The Desert of Death was one of the most violent areas in the kingdom during the first half of the 9th century AD.
Dr Khazilili said that “the desert is one of those places where, if you were to enter a cave and try to find something, it would be completely impossible”.
The team had hoped to use the manuscripts as a way of teaching people about their ancient history, but they have also found that people often forget about the importance of the manuscripts and what they tell them.”
We are very grateful to the researchers for bringing them into our study and we hope they will be able to preserve them in the future,” he said.
The authors of the research, which was funded by the National Natural Science Foundation of China and the University of Edinburgh, said in their statement that they were excited about the discovery of the rare manuscripts.”
This is a wonderful and unique opportunity for the research team to work with a team of experts from the United Kingdom to make this discovery in the Desert,” they added.