Ten Commandments digitized as Dead Sea Scrolls online archive grows

One the earliest copies of the Ten Commandments has been digitized and shared online, as part of Google's project to make the Dead Sea Scrolls available to all, with 5,000 new fragments added to the collection. The Leon Levy Dead Sea Scrolls Digital Library has been updated today with the help of various Google services – Maps, YouTube, and more – and adds to the original digitization back in September 2011 with sections of the Book of Genesis and other texts more than 2,000 years old.

The new additions also include the Book of Deuteronomy, specifically one of the earliest known copies, and various documents detailing the history of Judaism. The scrolls themselves date back thousands of years, with texts written on papyrus and parchment and then hidden in caves.

Both infrared and color images – at up to 1,215 dpi resolution – are available, helping to increase clarity in areas where the original ink has faded. A companion database contains extra information about around 900 of the manuscripts, and the digital library team has also built out some interactive content to better put the Scrolls into context.

The plan, however, is to add contextual information for all of the scraps and fragments, including translations and detailed bibliographies.  MegaVision cameras are used to create non-destructive images of the Scrolls in multiple wavelengths, all done simultaneously so as to reduce the likelihood of damage from repeated exposure.

Spectral imaging of a Genesis scroll: