Experts using a novel computer imaging program have for the first time virtually unwrapped an ancient scroll too burned and fragile to be opened.
In doing so, they have recovered a fragment of the authoritative text of the Hebrew Bible, the earliest known instance of the work.
The ancient scroll, a small charred lump, was found in 1970 in the ark of a synagogue excavated at En-Gedi, on the western shore of the Dead Sea.
The scroll’s content, the first two chapters of the Book of Leviticus, has consonants — early Hebrew texts didn’t specify vowels — that are identical to those of the Masoretic text, the authoritative version of the Hebrew Bible and the one often used as the basis for translations of the Old Testament in Protestant Bibles.
I read about this or a similar technique some time ago, used for charred fragments at the Met, as I recall.