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2,000-Year-Old Dead Sea Scrolls Now Online

by / September 27, 2011


More than 60 years ago, the Dead Sea Scrolls -- a collection of 972 texts from the Hebrew Bible printed on parchment, papyrus and specially prepared animal skins -- were discovered on the northwest shore of the Dead Sea. Since their discovery, they've been kept in a museum in Israel -- in a secured vault constructed specifically to house them that requires at least three different keys, a magnetic card and a secret code to access, according to the International Business Times.

The only way to see these ancient scrolls was to visit that museum -- until now. 

High-resolution photos of five of the seven Dead Sea Scrolls can now be seen online, thanks to expert digital photography and Google.

Digital photographer Ardon Bar-Hama photographed the images using ultraviolet-protected flash tubes to light the scrolls for 1/4000th of a second -- a much shorter exposure time than a traditional camera flash -- to protect the scrolls from damage.

These images contain as many as 1,200 megapixels (nearly 200 times more than your average consumer digital camera) so people can zoom in to get a detailed view. The scrolls are also supposed to be searchable through Google's search engine

Photo courtesy of The Israel Museum.