Dead Sea Scroll Fragments Previously Thought to Be Blank Are Actually ‘Treasures’ With Extremely Faded Text, Scholars Discover

Joan Taylor examining the Dead Sea Scrolls fragments in the John Rylands Library Reading Room. Photo courtesy of the University of Manchester.

Researchers at the University of Manchester have discovered hidden messages on what were believed to be blank fragments of the famed Dead Sea Scrolls. Only by peering at the ancient leather artifacts through a magnifying glass did the faint traces of Hebrew lettering appear.

“Frankly, since all these fragments were supposed to be blank and had even been cut into for leather studies, I also thought I might be imagining things,” admitted Joan Taylor, the King’s College London professor who first spotted the invisible text, in a statement from the Network for the Study of Dispersed Qumran Cave Artefacts and Archival Sources. “But then it seemed maybe other fragments could have very faded letters too.”

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