NASA tech reveals hidden script in Dead Sea Scrolls fragments

04 May, 2018, 07:17 | Author: Sidney Guerrero
  • Hidden letters found in Dead Sea Scrolls may form part of an undiscovered ancient manuscript

Hundreds of small fragments stored in boxes of cigars have been studied in recent years by Dr. Oren Ableman, and today are being exhibited at the worldwide symposium that celebrates the 70th anniversary of the discovery of the thousand-year-old Qumran Scrolls.

The identification of new letters and words provides new data for the study of the scrolls.

Fragments have also been discovered from The Temple Scroll, the longest of all the Dead Sea Scrolls and gives information on how to properly conduct Temple services. Previously, there were only two copies of the Temple Scroll; the fragment makes three.

New fragments of writing on the Dead Sea Scrolls have been discovered with the help of new imaging techniques.

The Dead Sea Scrolls, which include tends of thousands of parchment and papyrus fragments (file photo), contain parts of what is now known as the Hebrew Bible.

Researchers examining tiny fragments of the text with imaging technology built by Nasa found hidden letters invisible to the naked eye.

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The Israel Antiquities Authority showed fragments at a conference entitled "The Dead Sea Scrolls at Seventy". He examined a few dozen fragments that were discovered in "Cave 11" near Qumran, and was excited to discover traces of ink on many fragments that initially appeared blank.

Although only a few letters survived in these small fragments, sometimes this was enough to reconstruct the text.

The 2,000-year-old fragments belonging to cave number 11 of the Qumran complex were stored in cigar boxes because "the archaeologists of the 1950s (when the manuscripts were discovered) used the cigar boxes as tupperware", Ableman to the newspaper The Times of Israel.

New fragments were discovered and identified from the Books of Deuteronomy, Leviticus and Jubilees, belonging to scrolls that scholars were already familiar with.

Hidden in 12 caves 2,000 years ago in Wadi Qumran near the Dead Sea - dating to the Second Temple period - some of the scrolls and scroll fragments have been hard to read. The new fragment preserves part of the beginning of Psalm 147:1.

"What was exciting about this particular fragment is that I could tell that the handwriting was not identical to other fragments of this type of script.That leads me to believe we are dealing with a manuscript that we didn't know about". This raises the possibility that it belonged to a still unknown manuscript.


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