Dead Sea Scrolls to be Digitized

A partnership between Israeli antiquities authorities and Google announced that the Dead Sea Scrolls will be digitized and placed online for all to view and see. The cost is estimated at $3.5 million.

The multi-spectral imaging will be of an extremely high nature using technology developed by NASA. The scrolls are now only partially viewable by the general public and are shown on a rotating basis at at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem in order to minimize exposure that may damage or erode the documents.

Discovery News states

He said the project would build on similar efforts by Google to put the public domain material of several European libraries online.

Shor said the first images should be posted online in the next few months, with the project completed within five years.

"From the minute all of this will go online there will be no need to expose the scrolls anymore, and anyone in his office or (on) his couch will be able to see it," she said.

The 900 biblical and other manuscripts, comprising some 30,000 fragments, were discovered between 1947 and 1956 in the Qumran caves above the Dead Sea and photographed in their entirety with infra-red technology in the 1950s.

The parchment and papyrus scrolls contain Hebrew, Greek and Aramaic writing, and include several of the earliest-known texts from the Bible, including the oldest surviving copy of the Ten Commandments.

The oldest of the documents dates to the third century B.C. and the most recent to about 70 A.D., when Roman troops destroyed the Second Jewish Temple in Jerusalem.

The artifacts are housed at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem, where the larger pieces are shown at the dimly lit Shrine of the Book on a rotational basis in order to minimize damage from exposure.

When not on show, they are kept in a dark, climate-controlled storeroom in conditions similar to those in the Qumran caves, where the humidity, temperature and darkness preserved the scrolls for two millennia.
To read the full Discovery News article on the Dead Sea Scrolls, click HERE.

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