THE Friends of the Israel Antiquities Authority (FIAA), which is the custodian of nearly 15,000 fragments of the Dead Sea Scrolls, is asking people to pay to “adopt” a fragment of scroll so that it can be restored and conserved. The fragments on offer include the Genesis scroll and the Leviticus scroll.
A statement on the FIAA website says: “The cost of conserving and preserving a Dead Sea Scroll ranges between $1,500-$2,000 for the smaller and medium-size fragments, and up to $50,000 for the largest. . . The contribution will help us in our efforts to save, protect, publish and exhibit the most important universal cultural heritage collection.” (www.archaeology.org)
It says that a “dedication plaque bearing the donor’s name” will be displayed next to the scroll, “and the donor’s name will for ever be mentioned in publications or exhibitions referring to the adopted scroll.”
The executive director of the FIAA, Jacob Fisch, said: “The scheme is designed to raise money for conservation, cleaning, and high-resolution photography of the scrolls. . . It’s like people adopting animals from a zoo — they are more likely to want a lion than an ant. We will work with people’s budgets to find them something — there are 15,000 fragments to pick from.”
Scrolls findings. A researcher at the University of Manchester said this week that an obscure Babylonian document in the Dead Sea Scrolls was probably a precursor to the Jewish calendar.
Dr Helen Jacobus investigated the Babylonian text known as Qumran scroll 4Q318. “This ancient tract can be still used as a functioning lunar zodiac calendar, which was a precursor to the Jewish calendar of today,” Dr Jacobus said.