“What has been accomplished since 1990?” [Dead Sea Scrolls]

What has been accomplished since 1990? First of all, of course, with few relatively minor exceptions, the Dead Sea Scrolls have been published in first-class scholarly editions. And by Dead Sea Scrolls, I mean not only the scroll library from Qumran, but also some scroll material from this period found at Masada, as well some documents from the Second Jewish Revolt (the Bar-Kokhba revolt) in 132–135 C.E.

Scientific analysis of the scrolls has also proceeded apace. The parchment has been carbon-14 dated and DNA sampled; chemical analysis has been undertaken to determine the origin of the water used to prepare the skins; the inks have been analyzed; infrared photographs and multispectral imaging have been used to identify hitherto illegible letters; archaeologists have combed the Qumran site and nearby caves; experts on coins, glass, textiles and bones have been consulted; and ground-scanning radar has been used to remap the Qumran cemetery. The digitization of the scrolls has been accompanied by new photographs that have made new readings possible. In addition, preservation and conservation projects are underway using the most up-to-date methods.

Lawrence Schiffman, “A Short History of the Dead Sea Scrolls and What They Tell Us”, Biblical Archaeological Review (May/June 2015), 51.