Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Israel Antiquities Authorities & Google Put Dead Sea Scrolls Online

From Haaretz.com:

The Israel Antiquities Authorities and Google on Tuesday launched a joint initiative to create a digital archive of high definition images of the Dead Sea scrolls.

The scrolls, which were discovered broken up into more than 30,000 pieces were complied into 900 scrolls. Users on the website will eventually be able to participate in what the Antiquities Authority has named “the ultimate puzzle game,” in which they will be presented with the opportunity to piece the scrolls together from their shattered form and maybe discover new ways of reading the inscribed texts, eroded and faded over the years.

The Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered in and around more than 11 caves near the Dead Sea in the Judea Desert between 1946 and 1956.

The scrolls include the oldest known surviving copies of Biblical documents as well as evidence of the Second Temple.

Since their discovery, several attempts at preservation have been attempted, yet most of them have not managed to avoid damages caused to the delicate texts inscribed on goat skin.

The Antiquities Authority has expressed hope that the new internet initiative will manage to also serve as a preservation tool, and enable a more detailed and safe surveillance process.

The scrolls will be photographed using an advanced photography technique utilizing 11 different light waves which is supposed to reveal letters and inscriptions unapparent to the naked eye.

The camera being built for the project is valued at the cost of over $250,000 and will be positioned in the Antiquities Authority in Jerusalem.

The documenting process will begin within the next three months, after which Google will upload the archive to the new website.

The initiative will be funded by Leon Levy Foundation, Arcadia Fund and Yad Hanadiv Fund.

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