In what could be termed as the magical significance of science, the scientists have developed a sophisticated form of X-ray technology that has helped them in making burnt scrolls talk.
Not the voice, but scientists have turned successful in making legible the contents of hundreds of papyrus scrolls from a library that were turned into charcoal during the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in Italy in 79 AD. The event, which remains a big mystery, is considered as one of the biggest natural disasters of antiquity.
According to the scientists, the papyrus scrolls were originally discovered in an age-old library that had been considered as a luxurious villa in an ancient city, Herculaneum, near the Bay of Naples.
The ancient city was parched and buried together with Pompeii when Mount Vesuvius blew its top. The library, which was a part of the Villa of the Papyri, belonged to the father-in-law of Julius Caesar.
A team of scientists used a technique called X-ray Phase Contrast Tomography, which is similar to CT scans, in order to discern the dark text from the black background.
Study co-author Emmanuel Brun, of Ludwig Maximilians University in Munich and the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility in Grenoble, said, “They are extremely fragile because they are, more or less, only pieces of charcoal.”
The study’s findings were published in the journal Nature Communications on Tuesday.