A long article, but interesting summary of developments in Dead Sea Scrolls scholarship. It appears many scholars are disputing the idea that the scrolls were particularly the work of the Essenes:

New Debate Over Community Linked to Dead Sea Scrolls
http://www.nytimes.com/2002/12/23/sc...3CND_SCRO.html

...One of the earliest and most vocal critics of the Essene hypothesis has been Dr. Norman Golb, professor of Near Eastern languages and civilization at the University of Chicago. In the 1980's, he was struck by the multiplicity of Jewish religious interpretations and practices recorded in the scrolls. This did not seem to him to be the work of a single sect like the Essenes.

Instead, Dr. Golb argued that the scrolls were written by a variety of Jewish religious thinkers and were hurriedly moved from Jerusalem libraries when the city fell to the Roman army in A.D. 70. Refugees hid them in the caves near Qumran for safekeeping.

In that case, the scrolls would have had nothing to do directly with Qumran itself, which Dr. Golb contends was a military fortress. . . .