In 1947, shepherds stumbled upon a cave in a rugged, arid area on the western side of the Dead Sea. What they discovered was soon proclaimed the greatest archaeological find of the twentieth century. Over the next few years, other, similar remote caves in the area were found. What did these caves contain? Over 800 fragmentary documents, mainly consisting of Hebrew writings on leather (with a few on parchment), including fragments of 190 biblical scrolls. Most of these are small, containing no more than one-tenth of a book; however, a complete Isaiah scroll has been found. Almost every OT book is present, and there are also other writings valued by the community that dwelt in those caves. It appears the earliest scrolls date to the mid-third century BC, and most to the first or second centuries BC. Perhaps the greatest contribution of this find is to our understanding of the transmission of the biblical text. It is encouraging to note that the differences are minimal between the OT texts of the Dead Sea Scrolls and various editions of the Hebrew texts produced a thousand years later and used today, involving the smallest textual details. The meaning of the text itself is not affected by these differences.
Read more at: 10 Crucial Archaeological Discoveries Related to the Bible | Crossway Articles