Mint Year: 1982
Mintage: 4,927 pcs.
Reference: Friedberg 19, KM-125.
Condition: Certified and graded by PCGS as PR-67 Deep Cameo!
Denomination: Gold 5 Sheqalim - Holyland Sites Series - Qumran Caves
Material: Gold (.900) - 0.2497 oz AGW
Obverse: The Qumran caves with Hebrew inscriptions in background.
Reverse: Large value numeral (5) beneath bi-lingual denomination (SHEQALIM).
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Qumran is an archaeological site in the West Bank. It is located on a dry plateau about a mile inland from the northwestern shore of the Dead Sea, near the Israeli settlement and kibbutz of Kalia. The Hellenistic period settlement was constructed during the reign of John Hyrcanus, 134-104 BCE or somewhat later, and was occupied most of the time until it was destroyed by the Romans in 68 CE or shortly after. It is best known as the settlement nearest to the caves in which the Dead Sea Scrolls were hidden, caves in the sheer desert cliffs and beneath, in the marl terrace.
Since the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls in 1947-1956, extensive excavations have taken place in Qumran. Nearly 900 scrolls were discovered. Most were written on parchment and some on papyrus. Cisterns, Jewish ritual baths, and cemeteries have been found, along with a dining or assembly room and debris from an upper story alleged by some to have been a scriptorium as well as pottery kilns and a tower.
Many scholars believe the location to have been home to a Jewish sect, the Essenes being the preferred choice; others have proposed non-sectarian interpretations, some of these starting with the notion that it was a Hasmonean fort which was later transformed into a villa for a wealthy family or a production center, perhaps a pottery factory or similar.
A large cemetery was discovered to the east of the site. While most of the graves contain the remains of males, some females were also discovered, though some burials may be from medieval times. Only a small portion of the graves were excavated, as excavating cemeteries is forofferden under Jewish law. Over a thousand bodies are buried at Qumran cemetery. One theory is that bodies were those of generations of sectarians, while another is that they were brought to Qumran because burial was easier there than in rockier surrounding areas.
The scrolls were found in a series of eleven caves around the settlement, some accessible only through the settlement. Some scholars have claimed that the caves were the permanent libraries of the sect, due to the presence of the remains of a shelving system. Other scholars believe that some caves also served as domestic shelters for those living in the area. Many of the texts found in the caves appear to represent widely accepted Jewish beliefs and practices, while other texts appear to speak of divergent, unique, or minority interpretations and practices. Some scholars believe that some of these texts describe the beliefs of the inhabitants of Qumran, which, may have been the Essenes, or the asylum for supporters of the traditional priestly family of the Zadokites against the Hasmonean priest/kings. A literary epistle published in the 1990s expresses reasons for creating a community, some of which resemble Sadducean arguments in the Talmud. Most of the scrolls seem to have been hidden in the caves during the turmoil of the First Jewish Revolt, though some of them may have been deposited earlier.
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