Salts used on Temple scroll are not common to Dead Sea region, researchers find
The Dead Sea scrolls have given up fresh mysteries, with researchers saying they have identified a previously unknown technique used to prepare one of the most remarkable ringlets of the collection.
Scientists say the study poses a puzzle, as the salts used on the writing coating of the Temple scroll are not common to the Dead Sea region.
” This inorganic stratum that is really clearly visible on the Temple scroll astounded us and persuaded us to look more in detail how this ringlet was prepared, and it turns out to be quite unique ,” said Assistant Professor Admir Masic, co-author of the research from Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the US.
” These salts are not conventional for anything we knew about associated with this period and parchment spawning ,” he added.
Found in the middle of the 20 th century but dating back to between the third century BC and the first century AD, the Dead Sea scrolls are made up of copies of writings that form parts of the Hebrew Bible, hymns and writings about religious texts and practises. Some regions are mere fragments while others are intact scrolls.
The discovery of the ancient textbooks itself sounds like something out of scripture: nomadic Bedouin shepherds concluded cloth-wrapped ringlets hiding in flasks in the Qumran caves of the West Bank.
Most of the writings are on parchment membranes- some of which have been browned, an eastern rehearse, while some are untanned or lightly tanned, a western practice.
One of the most remarkable intact moves is the Temple scroll, a manuscript that was reportedly sold by the Bedouins to an relic peddler who wrapped it in cellophane and put it in a shoe-box under his flooring. The move is now housed with many of the other Dead Sea moves in the Shrine of the Book, one of the purposes of the Israel Museum in Jerusalem.
The bright, sallow scroll- which is more than 8 metres long and written on parchment expanses whitened through treatment with a salt called alum- has a number of bizarre peculiarities. It is wafer thin- experts have suggested it might have been made from an animal skin split in two- and unlike most ringlets, the textbook is on the flesh slope of the surface. Even more surprisingly, the text is written on a thick-skulled mineral-containing bed that words a writing surface on top of the collagen.
” The blanket reminds[ one] of plaster on a wall ,” said Prof Ira Rabin, another scribe of the study.
Now, writing in the magazine Science Advances, Masic and peers report that they have analysed a fragment of the Temple Scroll to unpick the makeup of this mineral-containing layer.
The makes show the writing skin-deep is chiefly composed of sulfate salts, including glauberite, gypsum and thenardite- minerals that dissolve in irrigate and are left behind when the ocean evaporates.
However, the researchers say these salts are not usual for the Dead Sea region, growing questions of where exactly they came from.
Prof Timothy Lim from the University of Edinburgh, who was not involved in the study, said the findings did not show that the Temple scroll did not comes here the region, even if the salts used in its preparation might comes here elsewhere.
However, Prof Jonathan Ben-Dov from the University of Haifa contended:” I am not the least amazed to learn that a part of the ringlets was not prepared in the Dead Sea region. It “couldve been” naive to assume that they were all braced there .”
Rabin said:” We repute the[ Temple scroll] primary medicine supported with the’ western’ room[ of parchment grooming ]. But the detailed treatment is rather unique .”
The team say the findings raise questions of how best to conserve the Dead Sea scrolls , was indicated that the sulfate salts might intend the ringlets are more sensitive to small changes in humidity than previously thought.
Among those who welcomed the findings was Dr Kipp Davis from the Dead Sea Scrolls Institute at Trinity Western University in Canada, one of the professors who recently revealed that the trade in fragments of the Dead Sea scrolls was full of fakes.
” This is an important study that divulges a number of things which promise to continue to be helpful in the study of ancient Jewish scribal culture, but likewise also in our efforts to develop more robust and reliable techniques for evaluating authenticity and forgery in ancient manuscripts ,” he said.