‘The Dead Sea Scrolls as cultural icon’ asks: how did the Dead Sea Scrolls become so popular? Discovered in 1947 and published fully in 1991, the term ‘Dead Sea Scrolls’ has become a catch-all term for ancient manuscripts. The media played an important part in the popularization of the scrolls, but advances in computer and digital technology have improved access to the scrolls. Dead Sea Scroll tourism is popular even during unrest in the Middle East. The discovery of the scrolls coincided with the founding of Israel, giving the documents a profound political importance. Vatican conspiracy theories and copyright lawsuits have also captured the public’s imagination.