From Haaretz:

For the past two and a half months, Tania Treiger, a conservator with the Israel Antiquities Authority, has been pouring over a piece of parchment about 20 centimeters square. It began with a microscopic examination of the fragment to gauge its condition, and continued with the placement of special paper over the writing to very slowly remove the circa 1970s adhesive tape.
Treiger, whose tools include Q-tips, tweezers and lots of patience, is one of four “guardians” of the Dead Sea Scrolls. These four women, all from the former Soviet Union, are the only people in the world permitted to touch the scrolls.
The first of the Dead Sea Scrolls, among the most important archaeological finds in the world, were discovered in the mid-1940s in the Dead Sea area, and have been making headlines ever since. This week, the Hebrew daily Maariv reported that the IAA had decided to stop sending the scrolls abroad to exhibitions for fear of legal complications, after the Jordanian government demanded that Israel return scrolls to Jordan. In 1967 the Jordanians tried to remove the scrolls from the Rockefeller Museum in East Jerusalem to Jordan, but Israel took East Jerusalem before that could happen and found the scrolls in the museum storerooms.
The scrolls, dating from about 300 BCE to 70 CE, survived amazingly well in the dry conditions of the caves of Qumran, on the northwestern shore of the Dead Sea. The first scroll scholars, an international consortium of eight researchers, tried to piece together the fragments as best they could. “They were geniuses who did amazing work, but they were not aware of the physical needs of the material,” Shor says.
Using adhesive tape, they stuck together what they believed to be related fragments and laid them between two pieces of glass. The scholars created a total of 1276 such plates. But adhesive tape, an amazing invention in the 1950s, became a conservation catastrophe for the scrolls. The chemicals in the adhesive ate into the organic material, stained it and wiped out letters. Later scholars also did damage. In the 1970s, they began to piece together fragments using rice paper and plastic material, which caused additional damage. Luckily, this process was halted and most of the fragments remained within the glass plates.
The digitalizing of the scrolls, under preparation for three years, is to begin in about six months. The project, whose cost is estimated at more than $5 million, will use special photographic techniques, including infrared and full-spectrum photography, which are also expected to reveal hidden letters. The intent of the project, which will take five years, is to place everything on the Internet so scholars around the world can take part in the greatest puzzle of all – piecing together tens of thousands of fragments of some 900 different compositions.

The full article is here. The Hebrew version has two photographs.

HT: Joe Lauer


There are a number of lectures here that look very good.  From JSOnline:

The Milwaukee Public Museum and Mount Mary College are both holding lectures in connection with the museum’s “Dead Sea Scrolls and the Bible” exhibit opening Friday.

The museum’s 11-lecture series features an international panel of speakers covering different facets of the exhibition, from the scrolls’ application to the understanding of modern biblical texts to discoveries revealed through new technologies.

Individual lectures at the museum cost $25, $20 for members. To purchase seats for individual lectures, call (414) 223-4676 or register online at www.mpm.edu/peo. To purchase seats for a four- or six-lecture series, call (414) 223-4676.

The museum’s lectures:

• “An Introduction to the Dead Sea Scrolls and Bringing the Dead Sea Scrolls Back to Life: The Use of Imaging Technologies to Reclaim Ancient Texts.” Weston Fields, Dead Sea Scrolls Foundation, and Bruce Zuckerman, University of Southern California. 2 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday. [Jan 22-23]

• “The Three Favorite Books at Qumran and the Biblical Text.” Peter Flint, Canada Research Chair in Dead Sea Scrolls Studies, Trinity Western University. 7:30 p.m. Feb. 4.

• “The Ever-Alive Dead Sea Scrolls and Their Significance for Understanding the Bible, Early Judaism, and the Birth of Christianity.” Shalom Paul, Hebrew University. 5:30 and 7:30 p.m. Feb.18.

• “Israel at the Time of the Dead Sea Scrolls.” Larry Schiffman, Skirball Department of Hebrew and Judaic Studies, New York University. 7:30 p.m. March 4.

• “The Archaeology of Qumran and the Dead Sea Scrolls.” Jodi Magness, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. 7:30 p.m. March 18.

• “The Stories of the Milwaukee Public Museum Dead Sea Scrolls.” Marty Abegg, director, Dead Sea Scrolls Institute, Trinity Western University. 7:30 p.m. March 25.

• “God Among the Gods: Divine Plurality in the Qur’an in the Light of Biblical and Ancient Near Eastern Mythic Tradition.” Wesley Williams, Michigan State University. 7:30 p.m. April 15.

• “In Search of the Holy Grail: How Much Difference Would It Make If We Found the Original Handwritten Copies of New Testament Books?” Brent Sandy, Grace College. 7:30 p.m. April 29.

• “The Scriptures and Their Interpretation in the Dead Sea Scrolls.” Andrew Teeter, Harvard University. 7:30 p.m. May 6.

• “The Scribes of the Dead Sea Scrolls.” Emanuel Tov, Hebrew University. 5:30, 7:30 p.m. May 27.

• “The Dead Sea Scrolls and Current Bible Translations.” Deirdre Dempsey, Marquette University. 7:30 p.m. June 3.

Meanwhile, Mount Mary will present “The Dead Sea Scrolls 101: An Evening of Introduction” at 7 p.m. Feb 4 at 2900 N. Menomonee River Parkway. The lecture will be presented by Donald Rappe, associate professor at the college’s department of theology, and Helga Kisler, an adjunct theology instructor at Mount Mary. 

HT: Joe Lauer