Israeli Antiquities Authority (IAA) and Google wants to preserve Dead Sea Scrolls for eternity by digitizing them and making them available online.

JERUSALEM — The Dead Sea scrolls, containing some of the oldest-known surviving biblical texts, are to go online as part of a collaboration between Israeli antiquities authorities and Google, developers said on Tuesday.

The 3.5 million dollar (2.5 million euro) project by the Israeli Antiquities Authority and the internet giant’s local R&D division aims to use space-age technology to produce the clearest renderings yet of the ancient scrolls and make them available free of charge to the public.

“This is the most important discovery of the 20th century, and we will be sharing it with the most advanced technology of the next century,” IAA project director Pnina Shor told reporters in Jerusalem.

The IAA will begin by using multi-spectral imaging technology developed by the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to produce high-resolution images of the sometimes-faded texts that may reveal new letters and words.

They will then partner with Google to place the images online in a searchable database complemented by translation and other scholarly tools.

“Imagine a world where everybody with an internet connection is able to access the most important works of human history,” Google’s Israel R&D director Yossi Mattias said at the same press conference.

He said the project would build on similar efforts by Google to put the public domain material of several European libraries online.

Shor said the first images should be posted online in the next few months, with the project completed within five years.

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