“Some of these images are appearing for the first time in Google — what no one has seen for 2,000 years and no scholar since the Dead Sea Scrolls were found,” says James Charlesworth, director and editor of the Princeton Dead Sea Scrolls Project, who is one of the few who has handled the ancient pieces of parchment. “Now images and letters that were never found are appearing in Google.”
Charlesworth said the new images allow him to decipher in 30 minutes fragments of documents that once took 14 hours to analyze. The digital project will preserve documents that were eaten by worms and so fragile they’re turning to dust or rotting away.
Story: Ker Than, National Geographic News | Photo: Gali Tibbon, AFP/Getty Images