Dead Sea Scrolls To Go Online

    August 27, 2008

The Israel Antiquities Authority is working on taking digital photos of the Dead Sea Scrolls in order to make the 2,000- year -old documents available to the public online.

Dead Sea Scrolls

The scrolls contain the oldest written copy of the Old Testament. They contain nearly all of the Old Testament books. They are written in Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek, primarily on parchment, with some written on papyrus.

The scrolls are extremely delicate and scientists in Israel are using powerful cameras and lights that do not contain damaging heat or ultraviolet beams. So far they have taken 4,000 pictures of the 9,000 fragments that make up the scrolls.

The project is expected to take up to five years to be completed and will cost millions of dollars. "The aim in the end is that you can go online and call up the scrolls with the best possible resolution and all the information that exists about them today," Pnina Shor, head of the Artefacts Treatment and Conservation Department at the antiquities authority told the Guardian

"We want to provide opportunities for future research on the scrolls. We feel it’s part of our duty to expose them to the world as a whole."

The project is being led by Greg Bearman, who retired from the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Simon Tanner, a digital expert from King’s College London, is in charge of data collection.

It will likely be two years before some of the scrolls will be made avaialbe online. They will have transcriptions, translations, scholarly interpretations and bibliographies for academic study.