International panel discusses digitization of Dead Sea Scrolls

Meeting comes 60 years after oldest biblical texts were discovered.

dead sea scrolls 88 (photo credit: )
dead sea scrolls 88
(photo credit: )
An international committee of 10 experts is meeting in Jerusalem this week to discuss the future digitization of the Dead Sea Scrolls, the Israel Antiquities Authority said Sunday. The scrolls, which are the oldest surviving biblical texts, were discovered 60 years ago by a Beduin shepherd in what is regarded as one of the most significant archeological finds of the 20th century. The four-day meet, which began on Sunday, will deliberate on the best methods and techniques to digitize the scrolls for publication, research and conservation purposes, said Pnina Tur of the state-run archeological body's conservation department. The Antiquities Authority will then act on the recommendations of the committee, which is being convened on the 60th anniversary of the scrolls' discovery. Many of the thousands of fragments of the scrolls were photographed only once, around the time of their discovery. The scrolls were uncovered accidentally in November 1947, after being hidden for almost 2,000 years in remote caves in the Judean Desert. They were written as early as the third century BCE, although most date to the first century BCE and the first century CE, and have provided scholars with a wealth of information about the Second Temple period. The scrolls contain fragments of all of the books of the Bible, with the exception of the Book of Esther, as well as the complete text of the Book of Isaiah. In all, about 900 texts were discovered. Many of the scrolls are now housed in the Shrine of the Book at the Israel Museum.