The scrolls are made from several sheets of parchment that were
sewn together. After the sheets were prepared, the scribe used a
sharp utensil, or sometimes ink, to mark the columns and lines.
The writing was presumably done with pens made of sharpened reeds
or hard metal. Most of the scrolls were written with black ink made
of soot, resin, oil, and water, although a few contain several lines
or words in red ink. Small pieces of leather or pottery shards inscribed
with meaningless words, names, or isolated letters bear witness
to the scribes' custom of practicing their writing before commencing
The majority of the Qumran scrolls are written in Hebrew, though
some are in Aramaic and a few in Greek. The letters usually dangle
below the guidelines, though in certain texts they are positioned
at a slight distance from the lines. Most of the Hebrew and Aramaic
scrolls are written in the "Jewish" script, which was
widely used in the Second Temple period. In some scrolls, however,
the Tetragrammaton or the entire text is in ancient Hebrew script.
There are also several phylacteries and mezuzot that are written
in micrographic letters, which are no more than two millimeters
high. In addition, many texts written in cryptographic script were
found; these deal with secret aspects of the sectarians' world.