Wednesday, December 4, 2013


“How to read a scroll that does not open because it is turned into charcoal? The short answer to this question is: with great difficulty. The challenge was prompted by the discovery of a large repository of some 1800 papyrus scrolls (made from plant leafs) in Herculaneum, a Roman city destroyed by an eruption of the Vesuvius in AD 79. They came to light in the 18th century, having been buried under tons of volcano ashes for almost 2000 years. Naturally, they were all pretty much toast. If you touch them they fall apart (pic 3), unrolling them is an impossibility. […]
     However, over the past few years various attempts have been made to visualize the scrolls’ contents by scanning them, including with the help of CT-scans. Although it allows us to look inside, even if the scroll is still embedded in hardened lava, no actual text has been retrieved as of yet.”
Erik Kwakkel
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