See the world's oldest copy of the Ten Commandments
See the world's oldest copy of the Ten Commandments This photo shows the world's oldest complete copy of the Ten Commandments, written on one of the Dead Sea Scrolls (AP photos)
See the world's oldest copy of the Ten Commandments
Lexile: 800L

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The world's oldest complete copy of the Ten Commandments is going on rare display. It will be presented at Israel's leading museum. The exhibit traces civilization's most pivotal moments.

The 2,000-year-old Dead Sea Scroll comes from a collection of the world's most ancient biblical manuscripts. They were discovered near the Dead Sea east of Jerusalem. It has never before been publicly displayed in Israel. It has only been shown in brief exhibits abroad, said Pnina Shor of the Israel Antiquities Authority.

The manuscript's condition is very brittle. It will only be on display at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem for two weeks. Then it will be returned to a secure, pitch-black, climate-controlled storage facility there.

It is one of 14 ancient objects displayed in "A Brief History of Humankind." The exhibit includes historical objects. They span hundreds of thousands of years.

"When you are thinking about universal law, the universal principle of ethics, ... this is the first law that comes to your mind," Tania Coen-Uzzielli said. She is the exhibit's curator.

The exhibit includes tools used in an elephant hunt from 1.5 million years ago. It includes the oldest known remains of a communal bonfire from 800,000 years ago. Skulls from the oldest remains of a family burial can be seen too.

Also included is the world's oldest complete sickle. It's a 9,000-year-old object. The sickle represents the transition from hunter-gatherers to settled civilization that worked the land.

The objects are framed in dramatically lit cases. They will be placed in a dark exhibition hall. They were all discovered in the Holy Land. They are a testament to the region's central role in human history. The museum is mounting the exhibit to mark its 50th anniversary.

"We may be one of only a very few museums worldwide that can tell such a broad story from its own holdings," museum director James Snyder said.

The exhibit contains even more.

There is a 5,000-year-old Mesopotamian tablet. It is on loan to the museum. Coins that are 2,700 years old and come from what is now Turkey, are also on display.

Not everything in the exhibit is so old. An original handwritten manuscript of Albert Einstein's groundbreaking theory of relativity caps the exhibit. Einstein first published the theory in 1905. He generally is considered the most influential physicist of the 20th century. Physics is a science. It deals with matter, energy, motion and force.

Critical thinking challenge: The Einstein manuscript contains his theory of relativity first published in 1905. Why is it referred to as not so old?

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  • John0724-YYCA
    5/12/2015 - 07:04 p.m.

    I really want to know what language it is in because when I look at it it looks like little scribble scrabble on a very old paper and it should have been very hard for the scientists to understand because it is very small to read and looks like a language people hardly ever use. I wonder how the people get it out carefully when the scroll is nine thousand years old and it will easily rip when you do hardly anything to it because when I see movies and when they find old stuff it breaks very easily.

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