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December 19, 2012 4:21 pm

Ancient Dead Sea Scrolls Go Digital, Now Available Online

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The Dead Sea Scrolls on display in the Shrine of the Book at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem. Photo: Avi Ohayon/GPO.

Buried in caves for nearly 2,000 years, then bitterly fought over by scholars since their discovery by a Bedouin child in the 1940s, the Dead Sea Scrolls are now available online thanks to a partnership between the Israel Antiquities Authority and Google.

“Only five conservators worldwide are authorized to handle the Dead Sea Scrolls,” Shuka Dorfman, director of the Israel Antiquities Authority, told the Associated Press. “Now, everyone can touch the scroll on screen around the globe.”

Utilizing technology developed by NASA, the digitization process took Google more than two years to complete. The digital library, which contains over 5,000 high-resolution scanned images, contains the Book of Deuteronomy, which includes the second listing of the Ten Commandments, and a portion of the first chapter of the Book of Genesis.

“We’re working to bring important cultural and historical materials online and help preserve them for future generations,” said Yossi Matias, head of Google’s Research and Development Center in Israel.

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