Proton beams have shed new light on the origin of the longest of the Dead Sea scrolls, suggesting its parchment was manufactured locally.
According to a study carried out at the labs of the Italian National Institute of Nuclear Physics (INFN) in Catania, Sicily, the 28-foot-long Temple Scroll was made in Qumran, in what is now Israel, in the same area on the Dead Sea coast where the faded parchments were found hidden in caves half a century ago.
The scrolls, a collection of about 900 highly fragmented documents, are considered one of the greatest archeological discoveries of the 20th century. They include the earliest written texts of the Bible and are nearly 2,300 years old. In addition to the biblical texts, the scrolls are filled with apocryphal material and sectarian writings, dating back to between 100-200 B.C. to 70 A.D.