Scientists Unlock Secrets of Burned Hebrew Scroll, ‘Hasn’t Been Read For Millennia’
By FOX NEWS // September 22, 2016
“We’re reading a real scroll. It hasn’t been read for millennia."
(FOX NEWS) – In a significant archaeological achievement, an ancient Hebrew scroll that was burned in a fire in the distant past and was seemingly impenetrable has finally become readable— and scientists have discovered that it contains verses from the book of Leviticus.
The breakthrough was made through a high-tech process called “virtual unwrapping” and involved a collaboration between experts in the United States and Israel.
While no one is sure of the precise age of the parchment, referred to as the En-Gedi scroll, radiocarbon dating suggests it is from about the third or fourth century. Discovered in 1970, it likely was burned in a fire that destroyed a synagogue in the year 600 AD.
“We’re reading a real scroll. It hasn’t been read for millennia. Many thought it was probably impossible to read,” Brent Seales, a professor in the computer science department at the University of Kentucky, said during a teleconference with the media on Tuesday.
Seales, the first author of the paper announcing the discovery in the journal Science Advances, explained that the breakthrough occurred after a scan of the fragile scroll was made in Israel using a micro-CT scanner; then his team digitally unpacked the rolled, charred object.
They later corresponded with experts in Israel for the analysis of the lines of Hebrew text.