Self-Motivation
David Goggins
Former Navy Seal
Career Development
Bryan Cranston
Actor
Critical Thinking
Liv Boeree
International Poker Champion
Emotional Intelligence
Amaryllis Fox
Former CIA Clandestine Operative
Management
Chris Hadfield
Retired Canadian Astronaut & Author
Learn
from the world's big
thinkers
Start Learning

NASA technology reveals hidden text on Dead Sea Scrolls

The Dead Sea Scrolls were first discovered in the West Bank in 1946, but now a specialized camera is helping researchers read bits of the manuscripts for the first time.

Tanya Treiger, a conservator at the Dead Sea scrolls laboratory in the conservation laboratory of the Israeli Antiquities Authorities in Jerusalem. (Photo: GALI TIBBON/AFP/Getty Images)


A specialized camera originally developed for NASA has helped researchers in Israel discover previously hidden text on the Dead Sea Scrolls.

An infrared analysis, which was made possible by a multispectral imaging camera, has revealed that dozens of seemingly blank scroll fragments actually contain traces of ink.

Researchers with the Israel Antiquities Authority, which is working with Google to digitize the scrolls for public access, presented the discoveries at a conference in Israel called “The Dead Sea Scrolls at Seventy: Clear a Path in the Wilderness.”

“As part of the project each of the thousands of fragments of the Dead Sea Scrolls is imaged in order to monitor its physical condition and make the best possible images available to the public,” the organization wrote in a statement.


Fragment of a scroll found in 'Cave 11' (Photo: GALI TIBBON/AFP/Getty Images)

The newly discovered texts contain script from the books of Deuteronomy, Leviticus, Jubilees (also known as the Lesser Genesis), and The Temple Scroll, the longest of all the Dead Sea Scrolls.

What’s written on the fragments includes directions for conducting temple services, a version of Psalm 147:1 that’s shorter than the one found in most copies of the Old Testament, and paleo-Hebrew text, an ancient script, that couldn’t be attributed to any known manuscript. The discoveries also confirmed the existence of three separate copies of the Temple Scroll, settling a longstanding debate among scholars.

The Dead Sea Scrolls were first discovered by shepherds near the Dead Sea in the West Bank in 1946. Since, archaeologists have uncovered more than 1,000 ancient manuscripts, written on papyrus and parchment (and one on copper) in either Hebrew or Aramaic, throughout a dozen caves in the area.

The scrolls were stored in jars in dry, dark caves for 2,000 years. Some manuscript fragments have endured the centuries, others have weathered and crumbled.

What’s perhaps most significant about the recent discoveries is the possible existence of a manuscript archaeologists have yet to uncover, as Oren Ableman of the Israel Antiquities Authority and Hebrew University of Jerusalem told Haaretz:

“What was exciting about this particular fragment is that I could tell that the handwriting was not identical to other fragments of this type of script... That leads me to believe we are dealing with a manuscript that we didn't know about.”

Hulu's original movie "Palm Springs" is the comedy we needed this summer

Andy Samberg and Cristin Milioti get stuck in an infinite wedding time loop.

Gear
  • Two wedding guests discover they're trapped in an infinite time loop, waking up in Palm Springs over and over and over.
  • As the reality of their situation sets in, Nyles and Sarah decide to enjoy the repetitive awakenings.
  • The film is perfectly timed for a world sheltering at home during a pandemic.
Keep reading Show less

Two MIT students just solved Richard Feynman’s famed physics puzzle

Richard Feynman once asked a silly question. Two MIT students just answered it.

Surprising Science

Here's a fun experiment to try. Go to your pantry and see if you have a box of spaghetti. If you do, take out a noodle. Grab both ends of it and bend it until it breaks in half. How many pieces did it break into? If you got two large pieces and at least one small piece you're not alone.

Keep reading Show less

Unhappy at work? How to find meaning and maintain your mental health

Finding a balance between job satisfaction, money, and lifestyle is not easy.

Unhappy at work? How to find meaning and maintain your mental health
Videos
  • When most of your life is spent doing one thing, it matters if that thing is unfulfilling or if it makes you unhappy. According to research, most people are not thrilled with their jobs. However, there are ways to find purpose in your work and to reduce the negative impact that the daily grind has on your mental health.
  • "The evidence is that about 70 percent of people are not engaged in what they do all day long, and about 18 percent of people are repulsed," London Business School professor Dan Cable says, calling the current state of work unhappiness an epidemic. In this video, he and other big thinkers consider what it means to find meaning in your work, discuss the parts of the brain that fuel creativity, and share strategies for reassessing your relationship to your job.
  • Author James Citrin offers a career triangle model that sees work as a balance of three forces: job satisfaction, money, and lifestyle. While it is possible to have all three, Citrin says that they are not always possible at the same time, especially not early on in your career.

The Anthropause is here: COVID-19 reduced Earth's vibrations by 50 percent

The planet is making a lot less noise during lockdown.

A house is collapsed after a 6.4 earthquake hit just south of the island on January 7, 2020 in Guayanilla, Puerto Rico.

Photo by Eric Rojas/Getty Images
Coronavirus
  • A team of researchers found that Earth's vibrations were down 50 percent between March and May.
  • This is the quietest period of human-generated seismic noise in recorded history.
  • The researchers believe this helps distinguish between natural vibrations and human-created vibrations.
Keep reading Show less
Surprising Science

Dinosaurs suffered from cancer, study confirms

A recent analysis of a 76-million-year-old Centrosaurus apertus fibula confirmed that dinosaurs suffered from cancer, too.

Scroll down to load more…
Quantcast