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This article reports on the identification of what is possibly the oldest complete sefer torah we have, dated c.1155-1225, at the University of Bologna. (The scroll was previously thought to date to the 17th century.) The article notes:

“I realised that the style of the writing was older than the 17th century so I consulted with other experts,” he said of the scroll, which measures 36 metres by 64 cm (39 yards by 25 inches).

He said the scroll showed many graphical features and scribal devices that were no longer used by copyists of Hebrew scripts in the 17th century.

What are these "graphical features and scribal devices" that were no longer in use by the 17th century? Are these just subtle variations in the calligraphic hand, or is it something more pronounced?

The article includes a photo, but it's not very clear and nothing jumps out at me. But I'm not a sofer(et).

(Thanks to SethJ for sharing the article.)

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One thing I see in the picture is the way they format the last line of the song, with only one parsha break. Some Torahs have 2. Another thing I see is the last column opens with a צ. That is very rarely seen today. – Double AA May 29 '13 at 18:23
@DoubleAA thanks. Most of the variations mentioned in that answer are ones we still do today, but that presumably wasn't meant to be a complete list. – Monica Cellio May 29 '13 at 18:23
See also the links in the comments to my answer there with Menachem – Double AA May 29 '13 at 18:24
This <A HREF="vosizneias.com/131904/2013/05/28/…; states that the scroll predates restrictions on the writing of Torah scrolls instituted by Rambam. I was going to ask what these restrictions were. – Bruce James May 29 '13 at 18:25

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