Thursday, March 02, 2017

Chemistry and the DSS

DECODED SCIENCE: Dead Sea Scrolls: From Copper to Parchment, An Archeological Treasure Trove ( John A. Jaksich).
The Essenes, a Jewish sect of the first century CE, hid the Dead Sea Scrolls (and other artifacts) from the Roman occupiers in caves near Qumran. Bedouin shepherds discovered the first of the scrolls 70 years ago.

Since the discovery, the scrolls have generated a lot of scholarly buzz, as archaeologists and physical scientists worked together on the find.

Two copper scrolls are among the most talked-about items, but animal skin and papyrus scrolls are also fascinating to scientists.

How can chemistry assist with the examination and preservation of ancient documents such as this?
I prefer to say "Qumran sectarians" rather than "Essenes" when dealing with the Dead Sea Scrolls. I won't get distracted by that subject now, but I have collected many relevant past posts here. This essay looks at the chemistry of dealing with the Copper Scroll and it also has some notes on the composition of the inks used on the parchment scrolls.

Past PaleoJudaica posts on the Copper Scroll are here and many links.