Dead Sea Scrolls to be put up for display on the Internet

Dead Sea Scrolls - Image 1 The Dead Sea Scrolls are coming back to life with the restoration project being commenced by Israel's Antiquities Authority. Using high-tech cameras, they will photograph each fragment of the scrolls, and the best part is it will be made available for public viewing over the Internet.

Dead Sea Scrolls - Image 1The Dead Sea Scrolls is considered to be one of the most intriguing finds ever to be discovered. Unearthed in the late 1940s in caves east of Jerusalem - near the Dead Sea, hence the name - it contained the earliest known copies of every book of the Hebrew bible.

The 2,000 year-old Dead Sea Scrolls also provided a peek into the rituals of a Jewish sect at the time of Jesus, as well as apocryphal texts. Now, it is the Dead Sea Scrolls' turn to be peeked at by modern society, all thanks to the Internet.

The Israel government is finally sharing the Scrolls to the world - or at least photographs of it - by digitally capturing every fragment of it, and afterwards to upload it all on the big Net. Scientists and technicians are working with high-powered cameras and lights that do not emit heat and ultraviolet rays.

What's particularly exciting about this is the technology being used could uncover potentially huge findings, especially in those sections that were previously deemed illegible. In all of its discovered history, the Scrolls were only photographed once (in the 1950s) using infrared. These collection are now stored in a climate-controlled room, a precautionary measure for preservation of the Scrolls' contents as some of the fragments have already been lost. The infrared collection will also be scanned to include in the new collection.

Phina Shor, head of the conservation department of the antiquities authority, says of the endeavor:


The project began as a conservation necessity. We wanted to monitor the deterioration of the scrolls and realized we needed to take precise photographs to watch the process. That's when we decided to do a comprehensive set of photos, both in color and infrared, to monitor selectively what is happening. We realized then that we could make the entire set of pictures available online to everyone, meaning that anyone will be able to see the scrolls in the kind of detail that no one has until now.


The project has already begun, although it would take about another couple more years before it can be made ready for public display online.



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