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Photographing the Copper Scroll
By Bruce and Kenneth Zuckerman, West Semitic Research
Most Dead Sea scrolls are scrolls—that is, at one time or another they were rolled up. The Copper Scroll, which we had been asked to photograph in collaboration with James Charlesworth of the Princeton Theological Seminary and the Department of Antiquities of Jordan, presented an especially difficult challenge. Because the inscribed metal of the Copper Scroll was too brittle to flatten, it was cut into 23 sections that look a lot like fragments of a cylinder. The problem: How to come up with a clear flat image of something that is anything but flat?
It took us a full day of experimentation to come up with a solution. We decided to use a low-angle “raking” light that would create glare and shadow and thereby make the letters “jump out” in relief. We first photographed each …

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