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1,500 year old parchment turns out to be the first 8 verses of the Book of Vayikra (Leviticus)


Micro CT scanning finally allows archaeologists to read badly charred 1,500-year-old parchment, which was discovered 45 years ago.

Israeli archaeologists said on Monday they had discerned biblical writing on a charred 1,500-year-old parchment with the help of digital imaging and described the text as the oldest found since the Dead Sea Scrolls.

US and Israeli researchers made the discovery using advanced medical and digital technology to examine the object, first unearthed 45 years ago when then-standard forensics could not decipher any script on the scroll.

“This is a really big discovery,” Pnina Shor, curator at the Israel Antiquities Authority, told a news conference where the five-centimetre-long (two-inch) cylindrical object was put on display.


“After the Dead Sea Scrolls, this has been the most significant find of an ancient Bible,” said Shor, referring to hundreds of ancient texts found in the late 1940s near the shores of the inland sea for whom the scrolls were named.

Scientists estimate that the Dead Sea Scrolls, widely considered the oldest written biblical fragments ever found, date to between the third century BC and 70 AD.

The scroll presented on Monday was uncovered in 1970 at Ein Gedi, about 40 km (25 miles) south of the caves of Qumran, where the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered.

Archaeologist Sefi Porat, 75, co-director of the dig, said the scroll dated to around the year 600 and turned up inside the remains of an ancient synagogue, which he chanced upon while exploring ceramic tiles at the beachside site.




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