Dead Sea scrolls to go on Google archive

The Dead Sea scrolls

The Dead Sea scrolls

The Dead Sea scrolls will soon be available to anyone with an internet connection.

Search engine Google and the Israel Antiquities Authority have revealed plans for an online archive of the scrolls, which number around 900.

The images will appear in high definition, with a special camera costing more than £157,000 used to photograph the scrolls. The organisers hope that the website will be live by the beginning of 2011.

Users will also be challenged by "the ultimate puzzle game"; a chance to join up the thousands of pieces of scroll into one virtual document.

The scrolls, unearthed in caves near the Dead Sea by Bedouin shepherds some 2,000 years after being buried, are the oldest known Hebrew record of the Old Testament.

They have only been photographed in their entirety once before, although eight of them are on display in Jerusalem.

In June, Cambridge University announced plans to digitise a collection of rare books including important ancient Jewish texts and Hebrew and Arabic manuscripts rescued from a synagogue in Cairo.

Last updated: 3:14pm, September 6 2011