Technology used in Reading the Scrolls

Discovering the Dead Sea Scrolls all over again

August 05, 2010
The lights went out, and conversation quieted to whispers. Red, green, gold, blue … each flash was neon-vivid in the dark. Cutting-edge 21st century technology is meeting biblical scrolls more than 2000 years old at the Science Museum of Minnesota in downtown St. Paul.

The Dead Sea Scrolls have traveled from Israel to St. Paul as part of a seven-month exhibit. Discovered by a shepherd in caves near the ancient settlement of Qumran in 1947, the scrolls are the oldest hand-scribed Bible. Fifteen of more than 900 scrolls traveled from Israel to Minnesota for the exhibit, displayed in three separate groups of five. Each group of scrolls is on exhibit for a very limited time, explained Pnina Shor, Curator of Dead Sea Scrolls Projects for the Israel Antiquities Authority. Shor said that exhibition is hard on the ancient artifacts and “the scrolls must relax after exhibition.”

The photography took place at the changing of the scrolls – when the couriers and curators from the Israel Antiquities Authority brought the final set of five and took home the second set. St. Paul was a good site to test the process, with the scrolls here for the exhibit, the IAA contingent coming for the exchange, and the California company transporting their equipment across half a continent rather than halfway around the world.

[See the rest here]

Apparently the technology used to photograph these scrolls was able to resolve an previously unidentified letter and will likely be able to do the same elsewhere.




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