Seize this once-in-a-lifetime chance to see among the biggest accidental archaeological discoveries of all time.

You are watching: Denver museum of nature and science dead sea scrolls

By Terri CookMarch 14, 2018

The Dead Sea Scrolls room making the long journey from Israel to Denver.

On Friday march 16, the around the world renowned exhibition will open at the Denver Museum that Nature and also Science. The highlight will certainly be fragments of 10 original scrolls, consisting of one that has actually never before been publicly displayed. These are part of a library of more than 900 manuscripts written between 200 BCE and also 70 CE that incorporate the oldest well-known biblical documents, as well as records of ancient Middle eastern laws, customs, and beliefs.

Bedouin goat herders by chance stumbled top top the first scrolls in 1947 in a dark cave along the coast of the Dead Sea near the website of the old city of Qumran. Throughout the ensuing nine years, hundreds an ext manuscripts were found in other nearby caves. Thanks to this sensational discovery and also the important cultural and historical context the documents offer, the Dead Sea Scrolls room widely thought about one of the greatest archaeological discoveries of all time.

There space conflicting theories about why the scrolls were stashed in this caves, according to Dr. Risa Levitt Kohn, a Dead Sea Scrolls scholar and religious studies professor at mountain Diego State University. “That’s the million dissension question,” she says. “What we do recognize is the the scrolls to be written during a an extremely politically stormy time.” towards the end of the second Temple duration (538 BCE to 70 CE), the Romans damaged both Qumran and Jerusalem, Kohn explains. “It’s totally possible,” she says, “that one of two people the populace living at the site of Qumran or possibly even people from Jerusalem who ran for the hills as soon as the Romans started attacking the city hid the scrolls in the caves.”

The old scrolls were created on both parchment (untanned leather) and papyrus, and are incredibly fragile. Since of this, those on display at the DMNS will certainly be housed in a big display instance with separation, personal, instance climate-controlled chambers for each document. The temperature, humidity, and also light levels will certainly be closely monitored to save them as steady as feasible and to reveal them come minimal eco-friendly fluctuations, Kohn says. In addition, since the Israeli Antiquities authority has established that 90 job is the optimal duration for displaying the scrolls, they will be switched the end halfway v the exhibit’s run. “After that,” Kohn says, “each item will go back to Israel and also will no be placed on public screen again for an additional five years.”

Kohn personally selected i beg your pardon scrolls will be shown in Denver. “We tried to discover pieces that are exciting on a number of different levels,” she says. These incorporate a recognition factor—selecting a book of the scriptures such as Psalms that civilization may be familiar with—as well together legibility, fragment size, and also the object of each manuscript. “We try to bring out representative pieces from the library for this reason that civilization can gain a sense of just how numerous different kinds of text there are,” Kohn says. “It’s not simply biblical.”

In addition to the scrolls, the exhibit will attribute hundreds of ancient Middle Eastern artefacts in screens designed come immerse tourists in the traditions and beliefs that a an ar that has had actually a profound impact on three major religions. One is a design of a typical second Temple duration house filled v utensils, bowls, pots, and also furnishings to offer visitors a snapshot of what day-to-day life looked like during that time. One more is a depiction of Jerusalem’s well known Western wall surface that highlights a three-ton stone that purportedly fell from the structure as soon as the Romans destroyed the city in 70 CE. Museum visitors are welcome to monitor the old custom the leaving notes listing their hopes, dreams, and also prayers tucked in between the cracks—a legacy that Kohn to trust emphasizes the exhibit’s an effective connection between contemporary humans and our ancestral roots.

If friend go: The Dead Sea Scrolls exhibit will run indigenous March 16 come September 3 at the Denver Museum of Nature and also Science, 2001 Colorado Blvd. The exhibit will be open 10 a.m. Come 5 p.m. Top top weekdays and also 9 a.m. Come 5 p.m. ~ above weekends. Special timed ticket are forced to enter the exhibit. Bookings are strongly recommended.

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Terri Cook

Terri chef is one award-winning freelance writer based in Boulder. Much more of her work can be found at


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