LEXINGTON, Ky., Sept. 23 (UPI) -- The En-Gedi scroll remains rolled and sealed, and will likely never be unraveled. It's also severely burned. But none of that has stopped scientists from revealing the text within.
The ancient scroll is the first severely damaged, ink-based scroll to be transcribed without being physically opened. A team of scientists led by researchers at the University of Kentucky have used sophisticated 3D imaging to scan and reconstruct the bits and pieces of decipherable text.
In virtually unrolling the scroll, researchers were able to identify 35 lines of text, 18 of which were preserved. The remaining 17 were successfully reconstructed.
The scroll is named for the synagogue in Israel where archaeologists unearthed the rolled document in 1970. Its contents are biblical in nature. Previous analysis of the scroll revealed eight verses from the Book of Leviticus.
Researchers hope that their latest scanning success will provide experts another chance to translate ancient scriptures.
"With the aid of the amazing tomography technology we are now able to zero in on the early history of the biblical text, as the En-Gedi scroll has been dated to the first centuries of the common era," Emanuel Tov, a researcher at Hebrew University, said in a news release.
Scientists hope their work will enable others to decipher hidden text within delicate or damaged artifacts.
"We are releasing all our data for the scroll from En-Gedi: the scans, our geometric analysis, the final texture," said lead researcher Brent Seales, a computer sciences professor at Kentucky. "We think that the scholarly community will have interest in the data and the process as well as our results."
The transcription of efforts of Seales and his colleagues were recalled in a new paper, published this week in the journal Science Advances.