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'Dig Quest' App Lets Kids Explore Ancient Israel

12-10-2014
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JERUSALEM, Israel -- What do you get when you cross the Dead Sea Scrolls with today's digital age? Dig Quest, an app in English designed to help kids learn about the oldest written record of the Bible.

The new app introduces children to archaeology with unique games featuring Israel's ancient treasures, bringing scripture to life in the process.

The conservation lab for the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) is at the Israel Museum, where they carefully reconstruct and conserve the Dead Sea Scrolls.

One of the 2,000-year-old fragments is the oldest known text of the Book of Genesis starting with chapter one, verse one. It says, "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth."

And that's the first puzzle young users get to solve.

"The kids are actually making a puzzle -- 2,000-year-old-fragments -- some from the Bible, some sectarian that were found in the Qumran caves in the 40s," Orit Rosengarten, assistant director of the Dead Sea Scrolls Unit, told CBN News.

Rosengarten was involved with developing the IAA app.

"We try and make an introduction for kids, connecting them to the subject, since we feel it's one of the most important discoveries of the 20th century," Rosengarten explained.

The app transforms iPhones or iPads into an archaeological tool, allowing players to get a feel of uncovering mysteries from the past.

"You could be interested in archaeology; you could be interested in the Bible, Christian, Jewish," she said.

Right now, two dig games are based on real-life excavations, including the Dead Sea Scrolls found in Qumran.

"The scrolls were found fragmentary, and the scholars have been working for years to put them together and try and read what's on it," Rosengarten continued.

The app allows players to put together the ancient scroll fragments and mimics real-life technology, such as spectral imaging that brightens the script, making it easier to read. This process helped make the Dead Sea Scrolls available online.

"So after you complete the puzzle you can scan it and read the content much better. And whoever downloads the app gets a collection box where you can add each item you complete," Rosengarten said.

With the world speeding forward in the hi-tech age, is archaeology still important? Rosengarten says yes.

"It's our history. It's our legacy," she said. "If we don't learn from what we have, how will we progress today?"

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