Bones of Contention

In Israel, a new mystery from the time of Jesus

On the clifftops above the Dead Sea, Ron Dubay sifted the dust through a small sieve and found two tiny fragments of bone. Then he heard his partner Dennis Walker shout, "Whoa! We got something here." Walker's trowel held three vertebrae. Fighting their excitement, the researchers from California State University at Long Beach carefully dusted away for two days, finding skull fragments and the brittle, broken remains of at least one human body. Last week their conclusions about the find started an archaeological battle.

Qumran, where Dubay and Walker found the bones, was home to an ascetic sect of Jews, the...

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