Though archaeologists still aren’t sure who authored the Dead Scrolls, they may now be one step closer to understanding the origins of the artifacts thanks to a new study that made use of artificial intelligence. According to the study, which was published by the journal PLOS ONE this week, it’s likely that not one but two people wrote the text on the ancient Jewish manuscripts, which date back to between the 3rd century B.C.E. and the 1st century C.E.
“In a way that was not possible before, our approach opens access to the tangible evidence of the hitherto almost completely inaccessible microlevel of the individual scribes of the Dead Sea Scrolls and the possibility to examine the different compositions copied by each of the scribes,” researchers Mladen Popović, Maruf A. Dhali, and Lambert Schomaker wrote.
For their study, the researches utilized artificial intelligence technology to examine the writing on the scrolls, comparing the look of certain letters and analyzing patterns that appear in the ink. The study did not offer details on the identities of the two possible authors of these texts.
The Dead Sea Scrolls have been a continual source of fascination, both within archaeological circles and beyond, and the new study is not the only piece of news surrounding them to emerge in recent months. In March, archaeologists uncovered new fragments of them in a desert east of Jerusalem, marking the first time that such a discovery related to the Dead Sea Scrolls had been made in nearly 60 years. Those new parchment portions are believed to include text written in Greek from the books of Zechariah and Nahum.