Sample of new photos for the IAA library
Sample of new photos for the IAA libraryIsrael Antiquities Authority

The Israeli Antiquities Authority (IAA) revamped their Leon Levy Dead Sea Scrolls Digital Library Tuesday. 

The IAA launched the library in 2012 as a means of providing an index of the scrolls, as well as analysis and commentary, to any interested researcher or historian. The site has been wildly successful; over half a million people worldwide have visited the site and 25,000 new users enter the site every month.

Updates include over 10,000 new high-quality photographs of the scrolls, content pages in Russian and German, easy access to the site from social media, and a better search engine. 

Through international collaboration, a unique monitoring system for the conservation of the scrolls was developed, using multispectral images. The monitoring system will ensure the scrolls are properly preserved and kept in optimal conditions that simulate those in the Judean Desert caves, where the scrolls survived for over 2,000 years.

The system will be installed in the Dead Sea Scrolls conservation laboratory over the next few months. Using this advanced technology for long-term monitoring of the scrolls will help resolve scientific challenges in preserving these ancient scrolls.

The Dead Sea Scrolls are considered one of the most important archaeological finds of the 20th century. Among the scrolls is a very early copy of the Book of Deuteronomy, which includes the Ten Commandments.

In addition, the library features a part of Chapter One of the Book of Genesis, dated to the first century BCE, which describes the creation of the world; a number of copies of Psalms scrolls; tiny texts of tefillin (phylacteries) from the Second Temple period; letters and documents hidden by refugees fleeing the Roman army during the Bar Kochba Revolt; and hundreds of additional 2,000-year-old texts, shedding light on biblical studies, the history of Judaism and the origins of Christianity.