Tag Archives: Mount Vesuvius

3D X-Ray Used to Read Charred Vesuvius Scroll

3D X-Ray Used to Read Charred Vesuvius Scroll

When the Italian town of Herculaneum was destroyed by a blast from Mount Vesuvius in 79 CE, it left behind the only classical library still in existence—but in charred and matted scrolls so fragile that they cannot be safely unrolled. Enter 3-D X-ray technology, typically reserved for mammography, which a group of researchers recently used to see inside the scrolls without unrolling them. The team has reported making out some Greek letters using this X-ray technique, which is best at picking out minute differences in similar surfaces. Because some ink never penetrated the papyrus, the letters stand out in relief. More… Discuss

Villa of the Papyri

Villa of the Papyri

The Villa of the Papyri, as it is now known, was a private home owned by Julius Caesar’s father-in-law in the ancient Roman city of Herculaneum. In 79 CE, the eruption of Vesuvius covered the entire city with volcanic ash, including the villa, which was situated halfway up the volcano‘s slope. Its remains were excavated in the 18th century, and therein was found a library containing 1,785 carbonized papyrus scrolls, many of them expounding the ideas of what school of philosophy? More… Discuss