Talk about ancient history! Google and the Israeli Antiquities Authority have teamed up to digitize and make high-resolution images of the 2,000-year-old Dead Sea Scrolls accessible to anyone with an Internet connection.
Google has been scanning books and documents for years as part of its partnership with libraries around the world. Several million dollars will now fund a special implementation of the technology, as the Dead Sea fragments will all be scanned using a NASA-developed imaging system. The scans will be hosted by Google, which will pair them with translation tools.
Project results should be online with months, though the complete set of scrolls will take years to digitize.
At a press briefing in Israel, the IAA's Pnina Shor talked about how the Google deal will help preserve the scrolls. "From the minute all of this will go online there will be no need to expose the scrolls anymore, and anyone in his office or (on) his couch will be able to see it."
"The images will be equal in quality to the actual physical viewing of the scrolls, thus eliminating the need for re-exposure of the Scrolls and allowing their preservation for future generations," the Authority said in a statement.
I saw the Dead Sea Scrolls in person in Jerusalem many years ago and have to wonder if seeing a digital image will be the same experience.