See the world's oldest copy of the Ten Commandments
The world's oldest complete copy of the Ten Commandments is going on rare display 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 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 is so brittle that 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 that 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," exhibit curator Tania Coen-Uzzielli said.
The exhibit includes tools used in an elephant hunt from 1.5 million years ago. In addition, there are the oldest known remains of a communal bonfire from 800,000 years ago. Skulls from the oldest remains of a family burial are on display as well.
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 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.
"After only 50 years, 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?