Ancient Dead Sea Scrolls go digital, now available online

Click photo to download. Caption: The Dead Sea Scrolls on display in the Shrine of the Book at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem. Credit: Avi Ohayon/GPO.

( Buried in caves for nearly 2,000 years, then bitterly fought over by scholars since their discovery by a Bedouin child in the 1940s, the Dead Sea Scrolls are now available online thanks to a partnership between the Israel Antiquities Authority and Google.

“Only five conservators worldwide are authorized to handle the Dead Sea Scrolls,” Shuka Dorfman, director of the Israel Antiquities Authority, told the Associated Press. “Now, everyone can touch the scroll on screen around the globe.”

Utilizing technology developed by NASA, the digitization process took Google more than two years to complete. The digital library, which contains over 5,000 high-resolution scanned images, contains the Book of Deuteronomy, which includes the second listing of the Ten Commandments, and a portion of the first chapter of the Book of Genesis.

“We’re working to bring important cultural and historical materials online and help preserve them for future generations,” said Yossi Matias, head of Google’s Research and Development Center in Israel.

The scrolls, housed in the Shrine of the Book at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem, have attracted approximately 1,000,000 visitors a year.  On the first day that the scrolls were presented online, the site received 1,000,000 visitors.

Posted on December 19, 2012 .