Digital Dead Sea Scrolls Available Online

A fragment of Isaiah from Cave 1, Qumran

In a giant upgrade to The Leon Levy Dead Sea Scrolls Digital Library, the Israel Antiquities Authority is making 10,000 multispectral images available to all via the web.

The entire site has better searching, browsing and indexing. You can search by keywords, or browse by language, location (including cave-by-cave), or content.

The scrolls are being specially photographed using a state-of-the-art system developed by NASA, and the results are eye-popping. The multispectral imaging captures 12 wavelengths (7 visible, 5 invisible), revealing depths of detail in both text and material that would otherwise be unseen by the naked eye. This allows us to peel away layers and recover lost or obscured text. Infrared photos from the 1950s are also included.

The site is very responsive, with fast load times and the ability to zoom in close for each image.

The IAA intends to place every scroll and fragment on the internet. I remember when simply looking at a photograph of a scroll was considered an illicit activity, so this is big news.

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About Thomas L. McDonald

Thomas L. McDonald writes about technology, theology, history, games, and shiny things. Details of his rather uneventful life as a professional writer and magazine editor can be found in the About tab.


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