For The First Time, Ancient Scrolls Charred By The Eruption Of Vesuvius Return To 'life'

Researchers at the University of Kentucky (USA) say they have found a method that could be used to decipher the scrolls that were charred by the scorching heat of ashes and gas, coming from the eruption of Vesuvius that destroyed the ancient cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum in 79 AD. C.

The specialists will use a new joint method with artificial intelligence and X-rays, revealing small differences (for example, changes in the structure of papyrus fibers) between the areas where the ink and empty paper are located.

Currently, the system is being checked with text samples visible to the naked eye. The study of the scrolls will begin in the coming months.


The professor at the University of Kentucky, Brent Seales, who directs the research emphasizes: "Although you can see that in every fiber of parchment there are writings, in order to open it it would require that it be really flexible, and it is no longer." This new system will allow you not to unwind the papyri.

"We hope to perfect this technology so that we can repeat it in the 900 remaining scrolls (without unwinding)," says Seales quoted by The Guardian.

Researchers are excited about the content of the scrolls. One of his hypotheses is that they contain epicureistic Greek philosophy. Another possibility that scientists consider is that the scrolls may contain Latin texts and do not rule out that they may be lost works, such as poems by Safo de Mitilene or a treatise by Marco Antonio.

Over the years, experts tried to unwind approximately half of the scrolls through various methods, although some were destroyed. Specialists claim that unwinding and exposing the writing to air results in the discoloration of the ink.

The remains of the library of the cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum were discovered in 1752 during the excavations of the ancient Roman city of Herculaneum, which, like Pompeii, was destroyed during volcanic activity.

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