The world is indeed more miniature in this internet age making it seem like a time machine as well. It made it easier to discover a mystery right in our backyard. Almost 2,700 years later and 6,000 miles apart, a fragment of the Dead Sea Scrolls has been found hanging on a wall in a Montana home

Photo Credit SHAI HALEVI-IAA VIA ZENGER A Montana resident recently donated the rare papyrus fragment from the First Temple era
Photo Credit SHAI HALEVI-IAA VIA ZENGER A Montana resident recently donated this rare papyrus fragment from the First Temple era
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 This is only one of the three oldest-known papyrus fragments in the world. Its journey may have remained lost in time if not for the passing of a scholar of ancient Hebrew script named Ada Yardeni in 2018. Professor Shmuel Ahituv was asked to complete her unfinished book when he spotted the fragment in a photo and decided to track it down. With help from the Antiquities Theft Prevention Unit of the IAA and the Jerusalem and Heritage Ministry that trail leads to Montana.

Photo Credit SHAI HALEVI-IAA VIA ZENGER A Montana resident recently donated the rare Ishmael Papyrus fragment that had been framed and hung from a wall in his mother's home. It comes from the First Temple era (1200-586 BCE) to the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) Showing here where all the scrolls are preserved, the Judean Desert Scroll Department’s Conservation Laboratory in Jerusalem.
Photo Credit SHAI HALEVI-IAA VIA ZENGER A Montana resident recently donated the rare Ishmael Papyrus fragment that had been framed and hung from a wall in his mother's home. It comes from the First Temple era (1200-586 BCE) to the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) Showing here where all the scrolls are preserved, the Judean Desert Scroll Department’s Conservation Laboratory in Jerusalem.
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Our story unfolds in Big Sky Country where the current owner of the parchment related his mom had gotten it as a gift while in Jerusalem in 1965, from the then-curator of Jerusalem's Rockefeller Museum, and a Bethlehem antiquities dealer who sold thousands of fragments. She brought it home to Montana, framed it, and hung it on her wall. Who knew?

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The unnamed owner, her son was invited to the conservation lab where all the scrolls are preserved and agreed his fragment, one of just three papyri to survive from the First Temple Period which was thought to be lost forever should be kept and studied. The public will soon get an opportunity to view the recovered document for the first time in Jerusalem.

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