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Friday, June 1 • 11:30am - 12:00pm
(Book and Paper) Multi Spectral Imaging and the Digitization of the Dead Sea Scrolls

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The discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls (DSS)in the Judean seventy years ago, is considered one of the greatest archaeological discoveries in modern times. The scrolls were either written or copied in the Land of Israel between 250 BCE and 68 CE. They represent the oldest written record of the Old Testament, and contain the earliest copies of every book of the Bible, except one. This “Ancient Library” allows us to peer into a period, 2000 years ago, pivotal to both Judaism and Christianity. Thanks to these remarkable texts, our knowledge concerning the origins of Judaism and early Christianity has been greatly enriched. Issues of publication, conservation, preservation and documentation of the DSS have concerned both scholars and conservators ever since the scrolls’ discovery. The Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA), first embarked on this ambitious project of multi spectral imaging as yet another conservation effort, but it very soon it evolved into an overall project that is gradually changing DSS research environment and methodology. I will begin with a general overview presenting a short historical assessment of the state of preservation and documentation of the scrolls and their availability to the public and to the scholarly community before this project began. The presentation will discuss in depth the technology and sciences involved in the imaging, the development of a noninvasive monitoring system based on the multi spectral images for following the state of preservation of the scrolls; the creation of highest-quality color images and advanced near infra-red images for public and scholarly use; the online digital library, open access, computer generated tools, algorithms, virtual work-spaces, and new studies resulting from these best possible images. Finally, I shall briefly survey future objectives and challenges we still face. The Dead Sea Scrolls are a universal cultural heritage. As such, it is our duty to safeguard and preserve them for future generations while sharing them with the public and scholarly community worldwide.

avatar for Ashlyn Oprescu

Ashlyn Oprescu

Conservator, Israel Antiquities Authority

Friday June 1, 2018 11:30am - 12:00pm MDT
Texas Ballroom D Marriott Marquis Houston