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Dead Sea Scrolls now online

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Elena Libman displays a fragment of the Dead Sea Scrolls in the Israel Antiquities Authority conservation lab in the Israel Museum Compound in Jerusalem, August 27, 2008. The Antiquities Authority is conducting a pilot program that involves imaging the Dead Sea Scrolls using the latest in digital technology. Thousands of Dead Sea Scroll fragments belonging to 900 manuscripts will be documented and placed on the internet data bank for the general public and scholarly research. (UPI Photo/Debbie Hill) | <a href="/News_Photos/lp/8c929193fef6f823e78a0d58affb2663/" target="_blank">License Photo</a>
Elena Libman displays a fragment of the Dead Sea Scrolls in the Israel Antiquities Authority conservation lab in the Israel Museum Compound in Jerusalem, August 27, 2008. The Antiquities Authority is conducting a pilot program that involves imaging the Dead Sea Scrolls using the latest in digital technology. Thousands of Dead Sea Scroll fragments belonging to 900 manuscripts will be documented and placed on the internet data bank for the general public and scholarly research. (UPI Photo/Debbie Hill) | License Photo

JERUSALEM, Sept. 26 (UPI) -- Israel's national museum and Google have put the Dead Sea Scrolls online, making the "touchstones of monotheistic" heritage widely available.

James S. Snyder, the Anne and Jerome Fisher director of the Israel Museum, said the Shrine of the Book section of the museum has "the best preserved and most complete Dead Seas Scrolls ever discovered," The Jerusalem Post reported.

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"They are of paramount importance among the touchstones of monotheistic world heritage, and they represent unique highlights of our museum's encyclopedic holdings. Now, through our partnership with Google, we are able to bring these treasures to the broadest possible public," Snyder said.

The Dead Sea Scrolls, believed written some 2,000 years ago by an ancient Jewish sect known as the Essenes, were discovered in caves at Khirbet Qumran on the northwest shore of the Dead Sea between 1947 and 1956. They are written mostly on parchment in Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek and are considered one of the most important archaeological finds of the 20th century.

The scrolls, access to which has been severely restricted, were made available digitally through a partnership between Google and the Israel Museum, PC Magazine said.

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