Images of some of the most important biblical manuscripts are now available online in high resolution thanks to a partnership between Google and the Israel Antiquities Authority.
The Dead Sea Scrolls, a collection of nearly a thousand texts discovered in caves near the Dead Sea in Israel, are now archived online for unlimited exploration.
The IAA is collaborating with Google to upload all of the digitized Scrolls images online, enabling users to explore the manuscripts and their contents in a number of languages and formats. Ultimately, the images will be accompanied by meta-data including transcriptions, translations and detailed bibliography.
The imaging technology used in this project is an innovative MegaVision product that enables the digital imaging of every Scroll fragment in various wavelengths and in the highest resolution possible. This will allow long term monitoring for preservation purposes in a non-invasive and precise manner. The images are equal in quality to the actual physical Imaging a plate in three visible wavelengths in the IAA studio viewing of the Scrolls, thus eliminating the need for their repeated exposure and allowing their preservation for future generations. The technology also helps recover traces of writing that have faded to invisibility over the years, with the help of near-infrared wavelengths.
The scrolls comprise the earliest known surviving copies of a number of important biblical documents, dated between 1700 and 2400 years old. They include parts from all of the Old Testament.
All 930 manuscripts are available on the Dead Sea Scrolls site.