High-resolution images of Dead Sea Scrolls dating back two millenniums are now available for viewing online.Students and others who have interest in Biblical history will now be able to take a peek into the past, thanks to the generosity of the Isreal Antiquities Authority (IAA) which holds custody over the sea scrolls.
These scrolls are reputed to contain a plethora of information about early Jewish and Christian life back to the time of Jesus. IAA is now working closely with Google’s Isreal research and development center to upload their entire digital collection onto the Internet.
Using the most advanced imaging technology available, IAA laboratories will be able to work on almost 30,000 scroll fragments to deliver high resolution images onto the Internet. This comes after IAA’s success with an initial imaging program two years ago.
The institution promises that these hi-resolution images will be virtually indistinguishable from observing the scrolls in person. Through this process, the IAA will be able to preserve the scrolls and protect them from further light exposure for the benefit of all future generations of scholars, while also allowing them to be studied by the public.
IAA is confident that with advancements in imaging technology, historical writings that have deteriorated over hundreds of years can now be studied.
It is hoped this newest release will lead to deeper research on the Dead Sea Scrolls, which are now considered one of the most crucial finds in archaeology since the turn of the century. Most of the parchment scrolls feature the oldest-known existing copies of the original Hebrew Bible and contain secular information from the third century BC to the first century AD.
Originally, studying the scrolls was exclusive to Bedouin shepherds who discovered them in 1947 buried in caves near the Dead Sea. Full publication wasn’t until 2001 and now large scroll portions are on display at Jerusalem’s Israel Musuem.