Ancient Treasures and the Dead Sea Scrolls

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Israel, the Northern Kingdom of fertile valleys

…sat astride major communication and trading routes linking Egypt and Mesopotamia. In the 8th century BCE, it was home to no fewer than 350,000 people.

Judah, the Southern Kingdom of arid soil

…grew in the shelter of its steep mountains. Judah had only 100,000 inhabitants at the time, but its capital, Jerusalem, was more populous than Samaria, the capital of the Northern Kingdom.

After the fall of Samaria in 722 BCE, the Kingdom of Judah began expanding, a development clearly visible today in the remains. The towns and cities spread and the communities formed a hierarchy, from hamlets to villages at the foot of the slopes, administrative centres farther up, and the capital city at the top.

The Kingdom of Judah would also come to an end, however, when Jerusalem fell to the repeated attacks of the King of Babylon, in 587/6 BCE. But for the moment, life under the sun was good…