(JNS.org) Israeli archaeologists have deciphered writing on a charred parchment that they are describing as the oldest text found since the Dead Sea Scrolls.
The script written on the 1,500-year-old parchment, which was first discovered 45 years ago at the Ein Gedi oasis, was revealed using digital imaging technology.
"This is a really big discovery,” Israel Antiquities Authority curator Pnina Shor said in a news conference announcing the display of the 5-centimeter (2-inch) cylindrical object, Israel Hayom reported.
"After the Dead Sea Scrolls, this has been the most significant find of an ancient Bible," said Shor, who added that the Israeli company Merkel Technologies, which specializes in high-tech medical equipment, helped decipher the script on the scroll via micro-CT scanning. Afterward, the results were sent to Brent Seales, a computer expert at the University of Kentucky, who used digital imaging to visualize the text and reveal that the script represents the first eight verses of the Book of Leviticus.
"The discovery absolutely astonished us. We were certain this was a shot in the dark," Shor said.