All 16 fragments of the so-called Dead Sea scrolls stored in the Bible Museum in Washington turned out to be fake. This was stated on the museum website. The results of the study are given in the final report.
The Dead Sea Scrolls are the oldest manuscripts of the III-I centuries BC, found at different times in the vicinity of the Dead Sea in Israel – in the caves of the Judean Desert and in Masad. Some of them are in good condition, some are represented only in small fragments. Scrolls contain the oldest known texts of the Old Testament. The vast majority of these oldest religious manuscripts are exhibited in Jerusalem, but a number of fragments in different ways ended up in other museums around the world and private collections.
In particular, the Bible Museum in Washington in October 2017 acquired fragments of scrolls of Dead Sea manuscripts taken from the National Museum of Iraq. Doubts about the authenticity of these fragments, the existence of which until 2002 was not known, the museum workers appeared almost immediately. At the end of 2018, the Museum of the Bible organized an examination, which showed that 5 out of 16 fragments are a clever fake. These fragments were removed from the exposition, and experts were involved in the examination of the remaining fragments of scrolls. The new study was even more disappointing. A thorough study of one of the most valuable collections of fragments of the Dead Sea scrolls in the world showed that they are all fake.
“After an exhaustive review of all the visualization and scientific analysis results, it becomes apparent that none of the text fragments in the collection of the Dead Sea scrolls of the Museum of the Bible is genuine,” Colette Loll, the head of research, art fraud specialist, quoted on the museum’s website “Moreover, each of them has characteristics that indicate that they are deliberate fakes created in the twentieth century with the aim of imitating genuine fragments of the Dead Sea scrolls.”
To study fragments, scientists used modern research methods, including the method of multispectral and reflective superposition of structures, traditional and three-dimensional microscopy, microchemical tests and others. Scientists have stated that all manuscripts were obviously created in the twentieth century, specifically to mimic ancient writings. Unknown authors used antique leather. Presumably she could have been taken from ancient shoes or sandals. But, as the analyzes showed, ink was applied to it relatively recently. The skin was covered with protein glue, which strengthened the skin and gave it a superficial luster, similar to that of the original Dead Sea scrolls written on parchment.
“In all the fragments that contained the written language, we observed examples where modern ink was applied over existing surface deposits, as well as through cracks and delamination areas already present on the reused material. In some cases, various falsified mineral deposits were also scattered on fakes after writing, when the ink was still wet to give the impression that these were genuine fragments of the Dead Sea scrolls that were found in Qumran caves , “- explained in the report.
“The Bible Museum always strives to be objective and truthful. We have become victims of misrepresentation or fraud,” museum director Harry Hargrave said.
Note that the facts revealed do not cast doubt on the authenticity of 100 thousand fragments of the real Dead Sea scrolls, most of which are stored in the Temple of the Book, part of the Israel Museum in Jerusalem.