News in English

Dead Sea Scroll dating now possible

A group of researchers has found a way to precisely date the Dead Sea Scrolls.

News in English

After a decade of intense laboratory tests, a Danish archaeochemist has found a way to enable scientists to precisely date the Dead Sea Scrolls, the ownership of which is currently a bone of contention between Israel and Jordan, according to

The Dead Sea Scrolls and other ancient documents were discovered between 1947 and 1956 in caves near the Qumran Wadi northwest of the Dead Sea.

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Treatment of the rolls has included them being spread out using plant oil, which in turn made precise carbon dating of the scrolls almost impossible.

A Danish archaeochemist and an international team of researchers, have, however now found a chemical method to remove the oil without harming the parchment of the scrolls, and thus allowing precise carbon dating.

“For more than a decade we’ve been saying that there was no point in dating the scrolls before we found a method to remove the oil. Now we have found just such a method,” Associate Professor and Archaeochemist Kaare Lund Rasmussen of the University of Southern Denmark tells

Carbon dating tests of the scrolls were carried out in the 1990s by the Zurich Institute of Technology and the University of Arizona, but precise dating has remained controversial.

It is not yet clear when a new set of carbon dating tests will be carried out.

Edited by Julian Isherwood

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