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2,500 year old ancient Torah scroll that was discovered in 1970 read for the first time

A Hebrew bible scroll dating to 500 CE, found in Ein Gedi in 1970, has been deciphered for the first time thanks to cutting-edge technology.

Cutting-edge technology has for the first time allowed scholars to read the most ancient Hebrew scroll found since the Dead Sea Scrolls, Israeli and US experts said on Monday, AFP reported.

The charred piece of parchment from the sixth century CE was found in the ashes of an ancient synagogue at Ein Gedi, on the shores of the Dead Sea, in 1970 but until now has been impossible to read.

“The most advanced technologies allowed us to virtually unroll a scroll, part of a bible, from about 1,500 years ago,” said Pnina Shor of the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA).

“After the Dead Sea Scrolls, this is the most significant find of a written bible,” she told journalists.

Archaeologist Sefi Porat was a member of the team which excavated the ruins in 1970.

“We tried to read it right after, but with no success,” he said. “We didn’t know what was hidden there with the technology of the time.”

The fragment measuring seven centimeters (two and three-quarter inches) in length resembles a peace of charcoal.

It has now been found to contain the first eight verses of the Old Testament book of Leviticus, which lay down the rules for ritual sacrifice, said Shor, head of the IAA’s Dead Sea Scrolls projects.

Kept in the IAA’s dark, climate-controlled vaults along with the Dead Sea Scrolls themselves, the parchment remained a closed book until last year when Israeli company Merkel Technologies volunteered the use of its micro-CT scanner.


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