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Technology Helps Archaeology

28 Jan

http://edition.cnn.com/2017/01/27/europe/charred-roman-scrolls-trnd/index.html

For over two millennia, scrolls from the ancient Roman town of Herculaneum eluded analysis. Left buried under the ashes when Mount Vesuvius erupted in 79 AD, the scrolls were preserved — but in a charred and illegible state.

But thanks to modern science, researchers are now able to read what’s on the scrolls without even opening them up.
They’ll do this with a new process that allows them to unroll the Herculaneum scrolls — virtually.
The process is called X-ray phase-contrast tomography. It virtually unwraps the scrolls and flattens out digital sheets of the physical carbonized document…
So what do the scrolls say? It’ll be a little while before the world knows.
The content from two of the scrolls — written by the ancient philosopher Philodemus on the subject of political rhetoric — is currently being translated from ancient Greek into English and will soon be published in a scientific journal.
There are a total of six Herculaneum scrolls, some unrolled and others in a fully rolled state. The volcanic eruption also devastated the city of Pompeii.
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