Using NASA technology, IAA reveal hidden letters and text from fragments previously kept in storage; Evidence points to unknown manuscript, as well as new sections from Leviticus, Deuteronomy, and the Book of Jubilees.
Using advanced imaging technology from NASA, Israeli archeologists were able to decipher previously unknown text and letters from hundreds of tiny fragments from the Dead Sea Scrolls.
Israel Antiquities Authority revealed some of their initial findings during a conference in Jerusalem on Tuesday, researchers announcing that some of the fragments are believed to belong to an “unknown manuscript”, leading them to believe they may be an additional scroll not yet found.
The Israel Antiquities Authority and NASA used multispectral imaging camera with 28 types of light exposure to examine the parchments. The fragments, which were held in storage for decades, were released for research as part of Israel’s 70 years of independence celebrations, as well given advanced technology from NASA and as part of a digitization project.
On one of the fragments deciphered written in paleo-Hebrew, researchers understood the handwriting differs from other scrolls, suggesting there may be a scroll unaccounted for. According to one of the researchers from the IAA and Hebrew University of Jerusalem, “the handwriting was not identical to other fragments of this type of script. That leads me to believe we are dealing with a manuscript that we didn’t know about.”
Among some of the findings are new sections from Leviticus, Deuteronomy, and the Book of Jubilees, as well as a fragment from the Temple Scroll and Psalms scroll.
In February of 2017, a twelfth Dead Sea Scrolls cave was discovered west of Qumran by Israeli archeologists. As with the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls caves beginning from 1947, the twelfth discovered cave was found with no scrolls and obvious signs of thievery from pickaxes, consistent with previous cave discoveries.
The first stolen scrolls were found in the 1947 by Israeli archeologists on the black market with over 850 + scrolls found to date, many of which are on display Rockefeller Museum in East Jerusalem as well as at the Shrine of the Book at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem.
The scrolls were written between 150 BC to 70 AD, most of the scrolls found dating to the Second Temple period. The scrolls include both Biblical and non-Biblical texts, written in Hebrew, Aramaic and some in Greek. Around 230 scrolls contain Biblical text, including 19 copies of the Book of Isaiah, 25 copies of Deuteronomy and 30 copies of the Psalms.
Photo: Fragment of Dead Sea Scrolls, Israel Antiquities Authority, Wikimedia Commons, 2018.