An upgraded website featuring the Leon Levy Dead Sea Scrolls Digital Library has been launched by the Israel Antiquities Authority, allowing visitors to view some 10,000 newly uploaded images of “unprecedented quality,” an IAA official announced Tuesday.
The website also offers accompanying explanations pertaining to a variety of manuscripts, such as the book of Exodus written in paleo-Hebrew script, the book of Samuel, the Temple Scroll, Songs of Shabbat Sacrifice, and New Jerusalem.
“A year has passed since the Israel Antiquities Authority first launched the Leon Levy Dead Sea Scrolls Digital Library,” said the official. “The library presents hundreds of scroll fragments imaged in unprecedented quality.”
The images were achieved, IAA said, with a unique camera developed specifically for this purpose, which was installed at its scrolls conservation laboratory in Jerusalem. To date, over half a million people worldwide have visited the site.
“Dead Sea Scrolls scholars, as well as the general public, will now be able to view, explore, and examine one of the greatest archeological discoveries of the 20th century on their personal computers and even on their cellular phones,” the statement continued.
The upgraded website includes numerous improvements, including 10,000 new multi-spectral images, improved metadata, additional manuscript descriptions, content pages translated into Russian and German, a faster search engine, and access from Facebook and Twitter.
“Through international collaboration, a unique monitoring system for the conservation of the scrolls was developed, using the multi-spectral images,” the statement read. “The monitoring system will ensure the scrolls are properly preserved and kept in optimal conditions that simulate those in the Judean Desert caves, where the scrolls survived for over 2,000 years.”
The system will also be installed in the Dead Sea Scrolls conservation laboratory over the next few months, IAA said.
“Using this advanced technology for long-term monitoring of the scrolls will help resolve scientific challenges in preserving these ancient scrolls,” the statement read.
In the meantime, IAA said it is currently advancing local and international collaborations to add to the digital library transcriptions and translations.
“The next versions of the website will also include additional images, tools for scholars, conservation data, content pages in additional languages, as well as advanced and multiple search options,” it said.
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