During one of the study trips, our group was given an unique opportunity to join a team of journalists from National Geographic who were writing an article about Dead Sea Scrolls. There is not many situations in ones life when that kind of experience is possible, so all of us got pretty excited. After all, those ancient texts are considered to be the most important discovery of the Twentieth Century.
At the lab, we met the three technicans who are allow to touch the documents and the director of the examination team. We heard about extraordinary circumstances under which the Scrolls were found and their accident-filled journey from caves around the ruins of the Khirbet Qumran to the laboratory in Jerusalem. We heard about the controversy that emerged in the religious environments all around the world over the translation and how it was done.
Along with historical background, the team familiarized us with the technical details regarding the conservation of the artifacts. How they should be treated during expositions, in what conditions they should travel and how they can be preserved.
After all of that we could see some parts of the Scrolls and some of us were even able to read from them. At least these parts in Hebrew;)
Visit in the Dead Sea Scrolls lab was an sensational experience. Feeling that you are standing in front of something that was written over two thousand years ago does magical things to you. You are feeling like time is not important, like you are some else, somewhere in different dimension…
It was in every way one of the most exceptional experience in my life.