Super X-rays could unravel Dead Sea Scrolls [Excerpts]
Hidden secrets of the Dead Sea Scrolls could be unlocked by British scientists using super-powerful X-rays.
The Diamond Light Source (DLS) in Didcot, England, is a machine the size of five football pitches that generates X-rays – a type of high energy light – 100 billion times brighter than those in a hospital.
Scientists have developed a way of using the beams to read rolled up parchments too fragile to be unfolded.
The technique has already been used successfully to transcribe a number of 18th century Scottish legal documents from the National Archive.
In future, researchers hope to probe much more ancient parchments dating back hundreds or even thousands of years, as well as classical musical scores written by famous composers.
But the most ambitious goal is to open up hidden passages from the Dead Sea Scrolls and the Torah, the most revered Jewish document which is said to record the word of God as revealed to Moses.
“There are some parts of the Dead Sea Scrolls that haven’t been unrolled, and there are parts of the Tora that haven’t been seen as well, said Professor Tim Wess, whose team is developing the technique at the University of Cardiff.
“I understand there’s information about a battle between light and dark.”
[TBC: It will be interesting to see what discoveries are made as this project progresses.]