Between 1947 and 1956 thousands of fragments of biblical and early Jewish documents were discovered in eleven caves near the site of Khirbet Qumran on the shores of the Dead Sea. These important texts have revolutionized our understanding of the way the Bible was transmitted, and have illuminated the general cultural and religious background of ancient Palestine, out of which both Rabbinic Judaism and Christianity arose.
In the 1990s West Semitic Research, together with the Ancient Biblical Manuscript Center, worked to compile a catalog of Dead Sea Scrolls fragments, plates, and images. This was published as The Dead Sea Scrolls Catalogue: Documents, Photographs and Museum Inventory Numbers (compiled by Stephen A. Reed; revised and edited by Marilyn J. Lundberg with the collaboration of Michael Phelps; Atlanta, GA: Scholars Press, 1994). Emanuel Tov of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem has since published the Revised List of the Texts from the Judaean Desert (Leiden: Brill, 2010).
West Semitic Research has carried out DSS imaging projects at the Shrine of the Book, Rockefeller Museum, Amman Citadel Museum, Bibliotheque Nationale and Institut Catholique, Paris, Diocese of the Syrian Orthodox Church, Teaneck, New Jersey, and numerous private collections. The technologies we have employed in these projects include conventional imaging, with color, black and white, and infrared film, as well as direct-to-digital capture in both color and infrared. With some of the later projects we also used Reflectance Transformation Imaging (RTI), both color and infrared.
Are we ourselves have not used multispectral imaging in the capture of Dead Sea Scrolls fragments, such a project has been and is being carried out by the Israel Antiquities Authority. See The Leon Levy Dead Sea Scrolls Digital Library.
Below are links to articles about various Dead Sea Scrolls, and the Qumran site.
- Discovering the scrolls The finding of the Dead Sea Scrolls.
- Testimonia An anthology of Bible verses concerning the Messiah.
- Isaiah Pesher An ancient commentary on the book of Isaiah.
- The Rule of the Congregation Rules for living in the Messianic age.
- Copper Scroll A list of buried treasure.
- Qohelet Fragments from the Book of Ecclesiastes.
- The Words of Moses A document using themes from the book of Deuteronomy.
Non-Biblical Ancient Texts Relating to the Biblical World: Non-biblical inscriptions and documents from ancient times that improve our understanding of the world of the Bible.
Biblical Manuscripts: Images and commentary on ancient and medieval copies of the Bible.
Dead Sea Scrolls: Images and commentary on selected Dead Sea Scrolls manuscripts.
USC Archaeology Research Center: Images of artifacts from the teaching collection of the University of Southern California.
Administrator, School of Religion