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In a new study published in the journal Science Advances, researchers have revealed why one of the Dead Sea Scrolls is so much better preserved than the others. The Temple Scroll is thinner, brighter, and easier to read than most of the other darker, faded parchments found in the Qumran caves. Using x-ray and Raman spectroscopies, the researchers discovered that the Temple Scroll was coated in a mixture of sulfate salts that was not present on other Dead Sea Scrolls. Since these specific salts are not native to the caves nor to the Dead Sea, the scholars have concluded that the Temple Scroll was produced using a unique technology in which the parchment was treated by adding an inorganic layer to the writing surface, and that it is this salt coating which is likely behind the scroll's exceptionally well-preserved state. The researchers underscored the importance of this study: "Understanding the properties of these minerals is particularly critical for the development of suitable conservation methods for the preservation of these invaluable historical documents."

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