NOVA

that Tim puts in a metal boxbefore burning, it’s possible that the En Gediscroll was inside a holy ark when it burned. There, deprived of the oxygen neededto fully consume the scroll, the fire instead carbonized it. Carbonization is not the samething as combustion, right? Combustion completely consumeswhat’s there to ashes. The material’s gone. VETTERS:They’re cooled down now. SEALES:Yeah, look at that. Definitely carbonized. SEALES (voiceover):Carbonization is thisintermediate process that leaves the structureof the material even though it changes it. SEALES: You see all the wraps and all the structure is still there. SEALES (voiceover): And the miracle of En Gedi is that that scroll was carbonized. And that meant that those items potentially still had text available inside them. NARRATOR: Though Brent had spent years perfecting a technology that could extract text from a carbonized scroll, he had never successfully used it on the real thing. SEALES: What we did in the lab was that we created materials that were of no value at all purely for the scientific inquiry. But what we wanted was to apply it to a really authentic thing. NARRATOR: Back in Washington, Kipp Davis is getting his first look at a final, prized fragment in the Museum of the Bible’s collection. DAVIS: This is a fragment that contains text from Genesis chapter 32, and it’s supposedly from the first century BCE or the first century CE. I’m checking the surface of it, because when manuscripts have been lying around in the desert for hundreds of years, the top layer will start to flake away, and, with it, it takes the inks. You can see very clearly here the edge of the top layer and all the blurry stuff behind it is the under layer. The ink is broken sharply along with where the skin has peeled off. The ink has come off with it. So this is, this is what we would expect to see on any Judean Desert fragment that has been sitting out in a cave for 2,000 years. NARRATOR: Could this really be a 2,000-year-old copy of Genesis? Kipp keeps digging. DAVIS:When we go downto this part here, this is problematic. You can see the, the same edgeof the top layer, here is the, the partthat’s in focus, and the under layer isall blurry behind it. This black is the ink, however, there is a small spothere, where the ink actually appearson the under layer. This fragmentwas already damaged and that top layer had already peeled off when this letter was penned onto the, onto the surface. My suspicion is that it’s probably not authentic. It’s a kind of, it’s a kind of mistake that somebody would make without knowing that they made it, and it’s almost impossible to avoid, just because you’re working on such a small scale. This one hurts, because it’s… This is one of the fragments that I had been holding out hope was authentic. Some of the other ones, it’s, it’s really, really obvious, but this one, no, it’s a much better-looking forgery than, than some of the other fragments. REPORTER:The Museum of the Bibleconfirmed today that five of its 16 Dead SeaScroll fragments are not real. NARRATOR: Further lab tests reveal that the chemical signatures of the sediments and inks found on the fragments don’t match those typically found on authentic scrolls– confirming Kipp’s suspicion that they are likely fakes. We have reached the conclusion that at leastsome of the fragments do show characteristicsthat are inconsistent with ancient origin, that they were produced more recently, probably much more recently, than 2,000 years ago. And so we’ve chosen not to display those fragments, because, you know, scholars and scientists have determined that, that these are legitimate questions. As for the rest of this museum’sfragment collection, they say they will get them tested, and the results will be released. DAVIS: In some ways, it feels good, because this confirms, helps to confirm,