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Call them the Dead E-Scrolls: Ancient documents go digital

Some of the oldest-known surviving biblical texts are headed for the Internet in a new collaboration between Google and the Israeli antiquities authorities. 

The initiative is using space-age technology to create the clearest-ever  renderings of the ancient scrolls, which are available free of charge online.

Abir Sultan / EPA

Visitors look at a copy of the Isaiah Scroll inside the "Shrine of the Book" at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem, Israel, on Monday, Sept. 26. The scrolls available online were purchased by Israeli researchers between 1947 and 1967. The scrolls were originally found by Bedouin shepherds in the Judean Desert.

The ancient manuscripts were written roughly two thousand years ago, and found several decades ago in desert caves, according to the Associated Press.

Abir Sultan / EPA

Dr. Adolfo Roitman points at the original Isaiah scroll at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem, Israel, on Monday, Sept. 26.

So far, five complete scrolls from the Israel Museum have been digitized for the project at this stage and are accessible online, where users can search the scrolls for specific passages and translate them into English.

Baz Ratner / Reuters

A visitor takes a close look at the Isaiah Scroll inside the "Shrine of the Book" at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem, Israel, on Monday, Sept. 26.

Google is also working with Israel to make the first comprehensive and searchable database of the broader collection of scrolls.

Abir Sultan / EPA

Dr. Adolfo Roitman analyzes the original Isaiah scroll at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem, Israel, on Monday, Sept. 26.

You can see the project online here. A full story is also available here.