An updated version of the Dead Sea Scrolls has been published online and includes 10,000 new images, more manuscript descriptions and translated content, and a faster search functionality.
Israel’s National Antiques Authority has launched an updated version of its digital Dead Sea Scrolls archive which now includes thousands of high-quality images of one of the world’s most spectacular archaeological finds.
The Dead Sea Scrolls online archive, presents hundreds of scrolls fragments that were photographed with a camera that was developed especially for this purpose.
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.
The scrolls, which can be seen at The Israel Museum in Jerusalem in a dedicated facility called the Shrine of the Book, 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.
The upgraded website includes 10,000 new multispectral images, extra manuscript descriptions, content translated into Russian and German in addition to the current languages, a faster search engine, and easy access from the site to the Facebook page and to Twitter and more, said the Israel Antiques Authority (IAA).
“The novelty is the quality of the pictures through a system that was created especially for the scrolls,” said Pnina Shor, curator and head of the Dead Sea Scrolls Project at the IAA. “These are the best possible images of thousands of fragments. They are exactly like the originals. The technology was invented for Nasa. It is a living site and a uniquely comprehensive one for documents this old.”
The texts are written in Hebrew, Aramaic, Greek and Nabataean. The manuscripts have been dated to various periods between 408 BC and 318 AD.