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One American archaeologist is trying to crack the Dead Sea Scroll code.
Alison Schofield, a professor of religious and Judaic studies from the University of Denver, is working on a new translation of the ancient scroll. She hopes to get a rare look at Judaism and Christianity from the time of Jesus.
"I was always a fan of Indiana Jones, and I was always interested in the Middle East," Schofield told the University of Denver in an interview. "I've been interested in the Dead Sea Scrolls for as long as I can remember."
The scrolls were originally discovered in 1947 in the mountain caves of Qumran. However, as technology improves, Schofield and her colleagues are continuously excavating new pieces of the scroll to unveil new information.
"This was really an adventure for me. It was very surreal in the sense that the setting itself was very dramatic. If you are in the cave, you are hanging over a nearly-thousand-foot cliff. It is incredibly exciting and dangerous to be rapelling into a cave and to work on the archaeological dig harnessed the entire time."
Schofield is working on piecing old scroll fragments and news fragments together to get a more comprehensive manuscript. This will allow her to better interpret the scrolls' meaning.
"Every day I wake up thinking, 'I'm really just amazed that I have this opportunity to work with these scrolls that were written by so many hands 2,000 years ago,'" Schofield says. "The scrolls tell us so much about not only the origins of Judaism but then the branching off of Christianity. To have that opportunity to hear those ancient voices and to be able to share those ancient voices with people is a great opportunity."