LEXINGTON, Ky - Members of the UK's Digital Restoration Initiative are achieving the unthinkable, reading scrolls and manuscripts once considered destroyed by the Mount Vesuvius eruption of 79 A.D.
Technical Project Manager Seth Parker asks, “How can we solve the problem of the invisible library which is all of these books and manuscripts that everyone has but which is invisible because you can’t read it?"
Excavations of the lost Italian city of Pompeii unearthed thousands of scrolls carbonized by the volcano eruption.
“Actually, when they first excavated them they thought they were logs of wood and so they threw them on their camp fire to burn. It worked very well for keeping them warm and later someone realized these are scrolls we shouldn’t be burning these," Parks says.
The scrolls were basically turned into chunks of charocoal, meaning it's impossible to unroll them.
"So if you were to just sort of tap them they would just snap because carbon is very brittle,” Parker explains.
Still, researchers have discovered a way to digitally assemble all the text using CT scanning and building 3-D models.