Saturday, August 30, 2008

More on the Dead Sea Scrolls

Yesterday I mentioned a project to digitize the Dead Sea Scrolls. Simon Tanner from King's Digital Consultancy Services read the post and emailed additional information to me.

First of all, there is a 3 minute video about the project at While the words are similar to the text I pointed you to yesterday, what is helpful is to see what they are doing.

Tanner reports that:
  • In the pilot, they are using PhaseOne P45 cameras with Haselblad bodies - for both the color and infrared imaging. They are capturing at 16-bits per channel and typically outputting a 230+ MB file of roughly 7,250 x 5,500 pixels.
  • They will very likely upgrade to the P65 for the actual project.
  • They are also doing image spectroscopy at multiple wavelengths between 640 and 1000 nm and this revealed lots of new information of conservation interest to the Scrolls in a non-invasive way. They might even be able to measure water content non-invasively.
He also said that:
Regarding the handling - all handling is done by the conservators at the Israeli Antiquities Authority and is done with extreme care - we even designed a special table to carry the Scrolls during the imaging.
However, the 900 scrolls are in many very small fragments (maybe 15,000) and these are stored in conservation enclosures. The vast majority of the scroll fragments can be imaged with a very careful conservation/imaging workflow - hence the timeline for the digitisation being in 1-2 years rather than months. There are a very few items for which the handling would preclude our imaging techniques and these will be dealt with as special cases.
Simon, thanks for contacting me! You wrote, "Hope this is helpful information for the community and your blog." Yes, very helpful! Thank you!

Technorati tag:


popsconyers said...

I am particlarly interested in the
photography of the single COPPER
scroll, also known as the KEY SCROLL or TREASURE scroll.

SimonT said...

That Scroll is held in Jordan and would not be an immediate part of this project. The scroll has (to my knowledge) been cut to enable it to be read in sections.