Written as though God, himself, is speaking, the Temple Scroll contains detailed instructions on the building of a temple and dictates how laws are to be communicated to the people.
"We selected the fragments from the Temple Scroll because they were the cleanest, and would make our analysis easier," INFN physicist Giuseppe Pappalardo said.
Pappalardo and colleagues analyzed seven centimeter-sized fragments of the scroll using a new portable technique called "XPIXE" -- X-ray and Particle Induced X-ray emission -- and a particle accelerator.
"Basically, we concentrated on water. Like most of the other parchments, the Temple Scroll was made from animal skin, thus its production required extensive washing. Our goal was to compare and possibly find a match between the chemistry of the scroll and the very peculiar chemistry of the water from the area where the parchments were found," Pappalardo, who developed the XPIXE technology, told Discovery News.
The researchers bombarded the scroll fragments first with alpha-particles and X-rays from the portable XPIXE device, and then with proton beams produced by a particle accelerator.