The Dead Sea Scrolls are considered the most significant archaeological find of the last century. The California Science Center, in cooperation with the Israel Antiquities Authority, presents the largest Dead Sea Scrolls exhibition ever mounted outside of Israel, featuring more than 600 ancient artifacts on display. Opening March 10, 2015, Dead Sea Scrolls: The Exhibition explores the science and significance of the Dead Sea Scrolls - manuscripts written and hidden in caves 2,000 years ago and not discovered until 1947.
The exhibition features sections from 10 selections of the Dead Sea Scrolls - more than half never seen before in the United States, including parts of the oldest known copies of the Hebrew Bible, also known as the Old Testament. Through multimedia exhibits, guests will explore the science and technology used to date, decipher and preserve these ancient manuscripts for future generations. Additional highlights include a three-ton stone from Jerusalem's Western Wall, limestone capitals from the first temple period (1000-586 B.C.E.), ossuaries (ancient bone boxes) from the early Roman period and an ancient signature preserved for millennia on the Archer Seal.
More than 600 artifacts from the Bronze Age to the Byzantine period in Israel will be on view, including delicate jewelry, pottery shards bearing royal seals, weapons such as sling-stones and arrowheads, and many objects excavated from active archaeological sites in Israel.
"This exhibition demonstrates a remarkable blend of science and history," said California Science Center President Jeffrey Rudolph. "Cutting-edge conservation technology will allow our guests to see the most significant archeological find of the last century."
"We can only piece together the past by examining and interpreting objects from daily life or ancient written documents," said Dr. Risa Levitt Kohn, Professor at San Diego State University and one of the exhibition curators. "This exhibition reveals in ancient pots, coins, weapons, jewelry, and handwritten texts, a record of extraordinary human achievement constituting a significant contribution to our own cultural legacy."
Highlights of the archaeological materials in the exhibition include:
- A female figurine believed to represent Asherah, whom ancient Israelites may have thought to be the consort to the god of Israel
- Arrowheads and sling-stones from Lachish, the site of a fierce battle between Israelites and Assyrians
- A storage jar stamped with a seal indicating that it belonged to royalty
- Ossuaries, or small stone boxes, that once contained human bones - by coincidence, three of them bear the names Jesus, Mary and Joseph, names commonly used in the years preceding Christianity
- A finely wrought 2,000-year-old gold earring inlaid with pearls.
To enhance their experience, Science Center visitors are invited to view "Jerusalem 3D," premiering at the California Science Center IMAX® Theater on March 10, 2015. Narrated by Benedict Cumberbatch ("The Imitation Game," "Star Trek Into Darkness," PBS's "Sherlock"), this giant screen film adventure immerses audiences in a cinematic journey that soars high above the ancient city of Jerusalem. Through breathtaking aerial footage, eye-opening personal stories and remarkable historical perspective, “Jerusalem 3D” takes viewers inside the heart of the ancient city in ways never seen before. This inspiring film also features exclusive footage that will take you to the Western Wall, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the Dome of the Rock and much more. After being granted special permission in the region’s strict no-fly zone, filmmakers were able to capture the first-ever large format aerial footage of the Old City and throughout the Holy Land.
Tickets to Dead Sea Scrolls: The Exhibition are timed and valid only for a specified admission date and time with entry times starting at 10 a.m. The last entry time is 3:30 p.m. Individual tickets to Dead Sea Scrolls start at $19.75 for General Admission and $12.75 for Science Center members. Combination tickets to the exhibition and "Jerusalem 3D" start at $26 for General Admission and $18.25 for members. Group, student and senior discounts are available. For more info and to purchase tickets, visit californiasciencecenter.org/visit/admission/dead-sea-scrolls-admission.