NASA Technology Reveals Previously Unseen Writing On Dead Sea Scrolls

The writings also describe a mystery Dead Sea Scroll that has not yet been located.

NASA technology has revealed new writing on a Dead Sea Scroll.
Uriel Sinai / Getty Images

The writings also describe a mystery Dead Sea Scroll that has not yet been located.

The Israel Antiquities Authority has just announced that writing that has never been seen before on the Dead Sea Scrolls has just been revealed thanks to the use of special technology from NASA and, excitingly, the Hebrew writing also alludes to a Dead Sea Scroll that has not yet been located.

The Dead Sea Scrolls contain numerous texts that were written between the third century BC and the first century AD that were found in the 1940s by the Dead Sea. Around 1,000 scrolls have been found so far, according to Haaretz, with many of these broken down into extremely tiny fragments.

In order to perfectly preserve the writings for posterity on these Dead Sea Scrolls, they are currently undergoing treatment by being photographed using special lighting, which includes new NASA technology.

Using this technology, archaeologists were shocked to discover fragments of writing that showed distinct paleo-Hebrew text from one particular Dead Sea Scroll. While this is not the first scroll written in such a language, the paleo-Hebrew text used is still markedly different from that of other scrolls found in the Qumran caves.

After reading the mysterious fragments of writing, the Israel Antiquities Authority’s Oren Ableman explained that archaeologists have jubilantly concluded that they are now dealing with fragments of an unknown Dead Sea Scroll that has yet to be discovered.

“What was exciting about this particular fragment is that I could tell that the handwriting was not identical to other fragments of this type of script. That leads me to believe we are dealing with a manuscript that we didn’t know about.”

With between 900 to 1,000 texts from the Dead Sea Scrolls having been recovered so far from the Qumran caves, it is quite rare to find entire manuscripts, according to Oren Ableman. However, he asserts that even though this is the case, he and other archaeologists can almost always tell what scrolls the vast majority of fragments are connected with.

While carbon dating has not yet been conducted on the new Dead Sea Scroll text, Ableman stated that the paleo-Hebrew text used suggested that it was most likely written during the First Temple Period.

The exciting new discovery of ancient fragments of a Dead Sea Scroll deciphered through the use of NASA technology was just announced earlier in the week at a conference at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem.