The Dead Sea Scrolls are going to be digitized! (Article in the Guardian.) This will be a great boon to ancient historians and religious historians. There’s been a tremendous amount of scholarly controversy (with political implications at times, even) since their discovery, and because of the extremely fragile nature of the fragments, very few people have been allowed to examine the originals. Digitizing them will involve multiple extremely high-res photographs using regular light, infrared, and multispectral cameras, which will actually be better than looking at them in person since it will enable the researchers to see ink that has faded to badly to be seen by the naked eye. Wow.

It will be about five years before the project is completed, but that’s a blink of the eye, historically. I’ll be interested to see how they structure the finding aids, and how readily available these images will be (will there be a fee, for instance?).

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