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Big Archaeological Discovery In Israel: Text Leviticus Discerned On 1500 Year-Old Scroll

Big Archaeological Discovery In Israel: Text Leviticus Discerned On 1500 Year-Old Scroll

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WESTERN JOURNALISM

Israeli archaeologists, using micro CT scanning, succeeded in reading a badly-charred 1500 year-old Torah scroll containing the first chapter of the Bible book Leviticus (Wajikra), the Israel Antiques Authority (IAA) announced on Monday.

The burned scroll was found in 1970 during excavations that unearthed an ancient synagogue at Kibbutz Ein Gedi near the Dead Sea.

“However, due to its charred condition, it was not possible to either preserve or decipher it,” the IAA wrote in a press release.

“The Lunder Family Dead Sea Scrolls Conservation Center of the Israel Antiquities Authority which uses state of the art and advanced technologies to preserve and document the Dead Sea scrolls enabled the discovery of this important find. It turns out that part of this scroll is from the beginning of the Book of Leviticus, written in Hebrew, and dated by C14 analysis to the late sixth–century CE. To date, this is the most ancient scroll from the five books of the Hebrew Bible to be found since the Dead Sea scrolls, most of which are ascribed to the end of the Second Temple period (first century BCE-first century CE).

“The Israel Antiquities Authority has been cooperating with scientists from Israel and abroad to preserve and digitize the Dead Sea Scrolls. About a year ago Merkel Technologies Company, Ltd. Israel, offered their professional assistance in performing high resolution 3D scanning of some Dead Sea Scrolls fragments and phylactery (tefillin) cases by means of a Micro-CT scanner. The fragment of the Ein Gedi scroll was scanned along with the phylacteries and phylactery cases. The Israel Antiquities Authority then sent the outcome of these scans to Professor Brent Seales of the University of Kentucky who developed a digital imaging software which allows to virtually unroll the scroll and visualize the text. Thus, the great surprise and excitement when the first 8 verses of the Book of Leviticus suddenly became legible, “ the Israel Antiques Authority wrote in the press release.

The discovery is the oldest found since the Dead Sea scrolls, which were found in Khirbet Qumran at the northwestern shores of the Dead Sea between 1947 and 1956.

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