Dead Sea Scrolls now available online

September 27, 2011

JERUSALEM (RNS) Five of the Dead Sea Scrolls that have been stored for
decades in a climate-controlled exhibit at the Israel Museum in
Jerusalem are now available in digital form to anyone with an Internet
connection.


A website (http://dss.collections.imj.org.il) developed by the
Israel Museum and Google allows online visitors to examine the scrolls
in minute detail with the help of a magnifying feature.


Pages for each of the five scrolls -- the Great Isaiah Scroll, the
Community Rule Scroll, the Commentary on the Habakkuk Scroll, the Temple
Scroll, and the War Scroll -- also contain brief videos and explanatory
notes.


According to the museum announcement, details invisible to the naked
eye are made visible through ultra-high resolution digital photography
at up to 1,200 megapixels each.


Photographer Ardon Bar-Hama used UV-protected flash tubes with an
exposure of 1/4000th of a second to minimize damage to the fragile and
light-sensitive scrolls, the museum said.


Dating from the third century B.C. to the first century A.D., the
Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered between 1947 and 1956 in 11 caves near
the Dead Sea. The region's arid environment helped ensure their
survival.


"We have seen how people around the world can enhance their
knowledge and understanding of key historical events by accessing
documents and collections online," said Yossi Matias, managing director
of Google's Israeli research and development center, in a statement.


"We hope to make all existing knowledge in historical archives and
collections available to all, including helping to put additional Dead
Sea Scroll documents online."