Particle Accelerator to Help Read Dead Sea Scrolls Too Fragile to Unroll

WATCH: How oldest Torah scroll found in a synagogue was read despite being burned to a crisp ■ Now manuscripts from the Second Temple Period that are too brittle to even touch may be deciphered using cutting-edge physics

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The virtually unwrapped Ein Gedi scroll compared to the size of a penny. The original scroll is on the right.
Virtually unwrapped Ein Gedi scroll (and a penny): The original scroll is on the right. Credit: S. Parker, The Digital Restoration Initiative/The University of Kentucky
Ariel David
Ariel David
Ariel David
Ariel David

Researchers are on the cusp of perfecting a technique to read Dead Sea scrolls that are too brittle to be unrolled and decipher the content of these 2,000-year-old texts without ever opening them.

An international team of archaeologists, computer scientists and physicists is planning to virtually unwrap these fragile manuscripts by tapping into the power of a synchrotron, a massive ring-shaped particle accelerator in which scientists smash atoms together to figure out how the Universe works.

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