Scholars and museums have been elbowing each other in the face for decades to get access to the famed Dead Sea Scrolls, but because they’re so delicate only a small fraction of the people who’d like to study them get the chance.
Soon the entire internetted world will get that chance.
“The project began as a conservation necessity,” Ms. Shor explained. “We wanted to monitor the deterioration of the scrolls and realized we needed to take precise photographs to watch the process. That’s when we decided to do a comprehensive set of photos, both in color and infrared, to monitor selectively what is happening. We realized then that we could make the entire set of pictures available online to everyone, meaning that anyone will be able to see the scrolls in the kind of detail that no one has until now.”
The digitizing process will take only 1-2 years, which seems fast to me, especially considering how gingerly these fragments must be handled. Once it’s done, every piece of the Dead Sea Scrolls will be available high detail to anyone with an internet connection. Very, very cool.