Israel brings Dead Sea scrolls to life with upgrade of digital archive

tags: Israel, digital history, Dead Sea scrolls




In an extraordinary marriage between high-tech wizardry and ancient history, Israel's national antiques authority has launched an updated version of its digital library of the Dead Sea scrolls, showcasing thousands of high-quality photographs of one of the world's most spectacular archaeological finds.

The expanded online resource, which is accessible from personal computers and mobile phones, presents hundreds of scroll fragments imaged with a camera that was developed specifically for this purpose. Only five expert curators worldwide are authorised to physically handle the scrolls.

Among the scrolls is an early copy of the book of Deuteronomy, which includes the 10 commandments. The first of the scrolls were discovered in a remote cave at Qumran in the West Bank close to the Dead Sea in 1947 – a year before Israel's war of independence and the Palestinian "Nakba".

Housed in the Israel Museum in Jerusalem in a dedicated facility called the Shrine of the Book, the scrolls include part of the first chapter of the book of Genesis, dated to the first century BC, which describes the creation of the world; a number of copies of Psalms scrolls; tiny texts from the second temple period; letters and documents hidden by those fleeing Roman forces during the Bar Kochba revolt; and hundreds more ancient texts that shed light on biblical studies, the history of Judaism and the origins of Christianity....



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