Some 65 years after the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered, relics that previously were only available to a few select scholars are now available for viewing on the Internet. Google and the Israel Antiquities Authority have partnered to present online archive which dates back to the first century B.C. The work includes portions of the Ten Commandments and the Book of Genesis.
The Leon Levy Dead Sea Scrolls Digital Library contains 5,000 high-resolution images of documents that have not been viewed for more than 2000 years.
In the mid-1940s and 1950s the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered in a series of 11 caves in a desert near Qumran. This discovery included more than 900 different texts. The ancient writings in Greek, Aramaic and Hebrew are in thousands of fragments.
The Israel Antiquities Authority seeks to make these texts freely available to people around the world.
Shuka Dorfman, Director of the IAA said “Only five conservators worldwide are authorized to handle the Dead Sea Scrolls. Now, everyone can touch the scroll on screen around the globe.”
While the IAA has most of what was discovered in the caves near the Dead Sea, universities and private owners have other portions. The Copper Scroll is in the Jordan Archaeological Museum in Amman. Other well-preserved examples are in the Shrine of the Book in Israel. Using a different system, those texts can be viewed at the Israel Museum’s Digital Dead Sea Scrolls site.
An exhibit is currently traveling the United States and is available for viewing by the public.