Researchers have found a key that may unlock the secrets hidden in 300 papyrus scrolls from antiquity that survived the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in A.D. 79.
Previously, scholars and scientists tried to unroll the carbonized remains of texts from an ancient library unearthed in 1752, but had to abandoned the process because it resulted in too much destruction.
Now, using a powerful 3D scan with X-ray-computed tomography, researchers in Naples, Italy, say that for the first time, they can read letters inside the scrolls — which were turned into black carbon masses by the volcano’s gases– without unrolling them.
The possibility of recovering vanished works of ancient Greek and Roman authors like Epicurus and his student Philodemus has historians giddy.
(READ the story from the New York Times)