Sunday, January 25, 2015

X-ray technique reads burnt Vesuvius scroll

X-ray technique reads burnt Vesuvius scroll. Jonathan Webb. BBC News. 20 January 2015.
Scientists are using a 3D X-ray imaging technique to read rolled-up scrolls buried by Mount Vesuvius that can distinguish the ink from the paper. The technique has identified a handful of Greek letters within a rolled-up scroll. [BYU has used multi-spectral imaging to read the blackened unrolled scroll fragments. More here.] The X-ray phase-contrast tomography technique looks at the bumps on the paper rather than chemicals in the ink that yielded the long-hidden letters. The letters are slightly raised, the ink never penetrated into the fibres of the papyrus, but sat on top of them. Curved letters that stand out from the papyrus fibres are easier to identify than square ones.

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