Israel’s Antiquities Authority has begun digitizing the Dead Sea Scrolls to make them available to everyone on the web. The project is an effort to preserve the remains of this 2,000 year old document that is currently a series of parchment and papyrus fragments.

The Dead Sea Scrolls contain the earliest know version of the Hebrew Bible, with the exception of the Book of Ester, and it highly sought after by scholars around the globe. But even the most careful treatment and lowest levels of light promote deterioration. These digital copies will help preserve the original documents, while recording inevitable future damage. The Scrolls were photographed in their entirety once before in the 1950s using infrared technology.

It is anticipated that it will take two years to completely digitize the Dead Sea Scrolls, but it will be a while longer before they are fully available on the web.You can read more about this project from an article in the NYT here.

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