Old dead sea scrolls carbon dating
These celebrated texts are of unique historical and religious significance.
The 800-plus manuscripts - written on papyrus or animal skin, and discovered in caves by the Dead Sea in the late 1940s and 1950s - include virtually the only known surviving Biblical documents written before the second century.
Others are substantial and complete, the longest scroll being eight metres long.
They were written over a period of around 200 years, and were evidently placed in the caves to hide them from the advancing Roman army at the time of the First Jewish Revolt, and hence no later than 68AD.
Find out more Enlarged image Zoomable high-resolution image The Dead Sea Scrolls are a collection of 800-900 documents, many containing ancient Biblical texts.
Carbon dating puts the earliest of them at about 150BC.
They may have been written out by the scribes of an ancient community living at Qumran, near the caves where they were found.