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Previous estimates of their age were based mainly on paleography, the study of ancient writing.

On this basis, scholars had deduced that the scrolls were written over the course of three-and-half centuries, from the mid-third century BCE to the eve of the Roman conquest, or 68 C. Broshi said the Israeli government’s Department of Antiquities decided last summer to submit samples of scroll material to the Swiss firm for dating.

a priestly Jewish family which ruled Palestine in the second and first centuries B. The Jewish holiday Hanukkah commemorates the Maccabees' recapture of Jerusalem and reconsecration of the Temple in December 164 B. A version of this script is still used today by the of the three orders of Jews during the Second Temple period; noted for strict observance of rites and interpretation of the law; their teachings concerned the immortality of the soul, resurrection of the body, future retribution, and a coming Messiah.

northern Dead Sea desert plain, part of Jordan (1949- 1967); region of the eleven caves yielding Hebrew biblical, sectarian, and literary scrolls. and abandoned about the time of the Roman offensive of 68 C. when the site was of the three orders of Jews during the Second Temple Period; priestly and aristocratic Jewish families who interpreted the law more literally than the Pharisees and were much less formal in the observance of rites and traditions; denied the concept of immortality and tended toward Greek version of the Old Testament (including the Apocrypha) translated by Jewish scholars in the third to second centuries B. E.; the first vernacular translation of the Bible and still used in the Eastern Orthodox Church.

So, we rely on radiometric dating to calculate their ages.

It dates the material to within 30 to 60 years, whereas the older method left a 230-year margin of error.

The Antiquities Department employed careful controls to confirm the authenticity of the test results.

3) A laboratory in Zurich employing a new, improved method of carbon-14 dating has pinpointed the age of the Dead Sea Scrolls to between the second century BCE and the beginning of the first century C.

E., according to Magen Broshi, curator of the Shrine of the Book at the Israel Museum, where some of the most important scrolls are kept.

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