AS FOR THE ORIGINALS...
THE first three Dead Sea Scrolls were found accidentally by Bedouin shepherds in a clay pot in a cave at Qumran by the Dead Sea in 1947.
Since then, around 900 documents have been unearthed, comprising biblical books such as Isaiah and Deuteronomy, works from the Apocrypha and religious writings attributed to the ascetic Essene sect.
The scrolls are invaluable in shedding light on the development of Judaism 2,000 years ago and of early Christianity.
While some of the manuscripts are wellpreserved, others are a jigsaw of tiny pieces. New X-ray techniques are enabling scholars to decipher previously illegible fragments.