Oct 20, 2010 11:21 AM by Associated Press
Now accessible only to experts, Google will put the ancient Dead Sea Scrolls online.
The project will grant free access to the 2,000-year-old text which are considered one of the greatest archaeological finds of the last century.
The scrolls, which consist of thousands of fragments, will be uploaded as high-resolution images. The first photographs are slated to be online within months.
The scrolls will be available in both original languages and in translation.
Officials at the museum where they are housed in Israel say going digital will help ensure that the originals are preserved.
The scrolls were found in caves near the Dead Sea in the 1940's.
Scroll editor Peter Flint, a professor at Trinity Western University, in British Columbia, believes putting the ancient works online will result in new findings. Flint says digital versions of the more than 25,000 fragments are like a jigsaw puzzle that can now be moved about and assembled. He says the scrolls offer vivid pictures of Judaism and early Christianity.