Those who value ancient history are on a mission to preserve it in a safe, accessible place: cyberspace. Efforts are under way to digitize ancient Ethiopian sacred texts written on goatskin and Hindu scriptures written on palm leaves.

Using technology to re-create the past is critical, scholars say. "It is hugely important for the study of the ancient world," said Tammi Schneider. She is dean of the School of Religion at Claremont (Calif.) Graduate University.

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