The history of Qumran began in the Iron Age. An Israelite fortress was located here sometime between the 8th and 6th century BC. It was named Sekakah. The majority of the ruins you will visit are from a community founded in the 2nd century BC. But who the residents were has long been debated. Most believe they were the Essenes. This small tribe consisted of about 50 men at the main site and perhaps 100 – 200 more living in surrounding caves and the desert. The Essenes operated like a monastery. They renounced women, sex, marriage and money. They devoted themselves to writing sacred texts in the scriptorium shown here. Other scholars contend the Yahad sect occupied Qumran. A few experts believe the people who lived at Qymran had nothing to do with originating the scrolls. Instead, the sacred documents were hidden in nearby caves by people from Jerusalem to protect them from the Romans during the First Jewish-Roman War (66 – 73). One fact is agreed upon: Qumran was destroyed by the Romans in 68 AD. Afterwards, a Roman garrison was stationed here during the Bar-Kochba revolt (132-135 AD). When they left, the secrets of Qumran remained buried for over 1,800 years.