In the early 1970s, a team of Israeli archaeologists uncovered the charred remains of a scroll at an ancient synagogue in Ein Gedi, in Israel. Unfortunately, the rolled up scroll was so heavily damaged, that it was impossible to unroll and decipher it without destroying the artifact…. until now.
A computer scientist at the University of Kentucky, Brent Seales, has developed a technique that essentially performs a series of CT scans, that could recover the ink markings from inside the scroll, without having to physically unwrap the delicate object. Inside the scroll, that dates to about the 3rd century A.D., researchers were finally able to read the first eight verses of the Book of Leviticus.
These verses correspond exactly to the ancient Hebrew text, the Masoretic text, preserved by the Jewish community since the medieval period. This would make the En-Gedi scroll the most significant find of Old Testament Hebrew writings, second only to the Dead Scrolls… Read about the geeky side of the story here.