Saturday, January 23, 2010

Four DSS conservators

4 Israeli women work tirelessly to save Dead Sea Scrolls

By Nir Hasson, Haaretz Correspondent

Tags: Qumran, Dead Sea

For the past two and a half months, Tania Treiger, a conservator with the Israel Antiquities Authority, has been pouring over a piece of parchment about 20 centimeters square. It began with a microscopic examination of the fragment to gauge its condition, and continued with the placement of special paper over the writing to very slowly remove the circa 1970s adhesive tape.

Treiger, whose tools include Q-tips, tweezers and lots of patience, is one of four "guardians" of the Dead Sea Scrolls. These four women, all from the former Soviet Union, are the only people in the world permitted to touch the scrolls.

First paragraph: I really do hope the author means "poring."

Second paragraph: it's kind of cool that I seem to be one of the last few people who were permitted to touch the Scrolls, around 1987-90 when I was working on the Genesis-Exodus material in my dissertation, which later came out in DJD 12. Although I suppose it would have been better for the Scrolls if we hadn't been permitted.

This is news to me:
The first of the Dead Sea Scrolls, among the most important archaeological finds in the world, were discovered in the mid-1940s in the Dead Sea area, and have been making headlines ever since. This week, the Hebrew daily Maariv reported that the IAA had decided to stop sending the scrolls abroad to exhibitions for fear of legal complications, after the Jordanian government demanded that Israel return scrolls to Jordan. ...
Not a good development, although perhaps understandable. Background on the Jordan demand is here.

The work of these four conservators is exceedingly important and I am glad to see them getting some public recognition for it.