The Copper Scroll of The Temple Treasure

 

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The Copper Scroll is the only Dead Sea scroll on metal. It is a ‘treasure map’ of the hiding places probably used to conceal the vast Temple treasure before it was ransacked by the Romans in 70 AD and is one of the best sources of first century Hebrew.

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p. 1

                     The  Copper  Scroll  of  The  Temple  Treasure  

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T he  Copper  Scroll,  so  named  after  the  metal  on  which  it   is  inscribed,  is  the  only  Dead  Sea  scroll  on  metal.  It     describes  in  detail  the  hiding  places  probably  used  to   conceal  the  vast  Temple  treasure  before  it  was  ransacked  by   the  Romans  in  70  AD.  It  provides  an  independent   confirmation  of  the  importance  of  the  Second  Temple  and  is   considered  to  be  one  of  the  best  sources  of  first  century   Hebrew.   Henri  de  Contenson  (top),  a  French  archaeologist,  and  Józef   Milik,  a  famous  early  Dead  Sea  Scrolls  scholar,  discovered  the  Copper  Scroll   accidentally  in  1952  in  Cave  3  near  Qumran  during  a  survey  of  the  hundreds   of  caves  along  the  western  shore  of  the  Dead  Sea.   The  Copper  Scroll  was  found  in  two  pieces,  rolled  and  buried  in  the  cave.   After  2000  years  hidden  there,  it  had  become  corroded  and  could  not  be   unrolled.  

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I   n  order  to  separate  and  unroll  the  fragile  scroll,   in  1955  the  two  rolls  were  sent  to  the  Manchester   College  of  Technology  in  England  where,  with  a   fine  saw,  they  were  cut  into  23  cylindrical  segments.   Forty  years  later,  and  after  further  deterioration,  the   segments  were  sent  by  the  Jordanian  Department  of   Antiquities  to  the  Laboratoire  EDF-­‐‑Valectra  in  Paris   for  restoration  and  scientific,  scholarly  analysis.   Fragment  15  (left)  showing  the  Hebrew  letters   pounded  into  the  copper,  is  part  of  the  11th  column   of  text  and  is  an  example  of  how  each  of  the  strips   looked  after  restoration.  The  scroll  names  the   locations  of  the  many  hiding  places  and  lists  a  vast   quantity  of  silver  and  gold  but,  tantalisingly,  does   not  reveal  where  to  start  the  search!  

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into  a  solid  copper  replica  of  the  original  scroll.   The  scroll  is  approximately  2.4  metres  in  length,  30cm  wide  and  1mm  thick.   Made  of  copper,  the  precise  outline  of  the  edges  and  holes  of  the  original  have   been  faithfully  reproduced  and  finished  by  hand.   The  back  of  each  panel  was  recreated  from  3D  computer  data  derived  from   scanning  the  front  of  each  plate.   The  facsimile  edition,  strictly  limited  to  20  sets,  is  presented  in  specially   constructed,  heavy-­‐‑duty  cases  custom  designed  to  fully  protect  the  scrolls   during  transportation  or  long  term  storage.       U   tilising  Laboratoire  EDF-­‐‑Valectra’s  research  as  a  basis,  Facsimile   Editions  of  London  worked  for  two  years  with  3D  imaging   specialists,  metallurgists  and  patinators  to  reconstruct  the  23  strips  

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    Three  sections  of  the  Copper  Scroll  prior  to  patination  and  ageing  (left)          

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          The  three  panels  after  patination  and  before  final  finishing.   The  top  two  panels  depict  the  front  faces  of  panels  1  and  2.   The  back  of  panel  3  is  depicted  in  the  third  image.              

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                          Facsimile  Editions  Limited   40  Hamilton  Terrace   London  NW8  9UJ   England   Telephone:   +44  20  7286  0071   Fax:   +44  20  7266  3927   E-­‐‑mail:   post@facsimile-­‐‑editions.com   Web:   www.facsimile-­‐‑editions.com  

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