Following the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls (DSS) in the late 1940s and early 1950s, scholars and institutions worked diligently to acquire, organize, and authenticate the newly discovered manuscripts (some complete and many in fragments). During this same time—taking advantage of the excitement generated by the astonishing discoveries—attempts were made to sell forged fragments. This minor and largely forgotten aspect of the DSS story has received renewed attention in recent years, following the appearance, since 2002, of several dozen additional fragments in the antiquities market—fragments that have ended up in the collections of universities, museums, and private collectors.
In February 2019, the museum contracted Art Fraud Insights, LLC to recruit and manage an independent advisory team for the purpose of designing and conducting a rigorous scientific protocol for the imaging and materials analysis of the 16 fragments in our collection. The goal of the research effort was to gather enough information that would allow for an evidence-based conclusion that would either confirm or refute the authenticity of each fragment. Click here to read more about the museum’s Dead Sea Scrolls and the scientific processes behind their analysis, as well as to watch an academic symposium held at the museum to discuss the results of the study and the future of the Dead Sea Scrolls fragments.