How to Digitally ‘Unroll’ 1,900-Year-Old Scrolls

“Around 79 AD, the eruption of the volcano Mount Vesuvius, in the central part of Italy, buried the twin cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum under 60 feet of ash and pumice. It all happened within the course of two days, but most victims were recorded during the first day. However, despite the massive devastation, from which no one escaped, a number of scrolls survived the fires and hot lava. But they are burned to a cinder, and only carbon can be found in them. Still, researchers have devised a method of obtaining the data out of them without actually having to open them.

The parchments, which were found at an excavated villa, contained many philosophical writings, as well as a number of other data, probably used for learning. When the first archaeologists who attempted to open them did so, the sheets of papyrus crumbled right out of their hands. The experts realized that the enormous heat they had been subjected to, as well as the centuries of confinement in solid ash and lava, had taken out all traces of elasticity from the material.

Because it’s now impossible to open the texts, and read them directly, University of Kentucky Computer Scientist Brent Seales, the Gill professor of engineering, has devised a new method of finding out the ancient wisdom on the papyrus. He plans to use an X-Ray CT scanning system to assess the documents, by recreating them in 3D from the inside out. If the task succeeds, then another computer team could easily use a computer software to digitally unfold the manuscripts, and to make out what is written on them, while at the same time maintaining their physical integrity.”

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Lifestyles of the rich and Roman

“When the rich and famous in ancient Rome wanted a little fun in the sun, they headed to the Bay of Naples. Much like the Malibu area today, it was a destination spot for the well-heeled, where one could stroll on the beach, read in a secluded garden or dine in a luxurious villa.

A new exhibit at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art shows how little things have changed when it comes to how people with money spend it, and how they influence the average citizen. It also shows how material possessions can disappear in a single instant.

Pompeii and the Roman Villa: Art and Culture around the Bay of Naples features more than 100 sculptures, frescos and other artifacts from the area’s seaside villas, which were destroyed when the Mount Vesuvius volcano erupted on Aug. 24, 79, spewing devastating amounts of molten rock and ash. The cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum were destroyed…………….”

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Vesuvius, the world’s most closely watched volcano

Vesuvius, the world’s most closely watched volcano

NAPLES, Italy (AFP) — Nearly 2,000 years after wiping out Pompeii, Mount Vesuvius is among the most closely monitored volcanoes in the world, its every shudder recorded.

“Vesuvius is one of the world’s most dangerous volcanos: it is always active, and 600,000 people would be directly at risk if it erupts,” says vulcanologist Claudio Scarpati.

On the flanks of the volcano overlooking the bay of Naples in southern Italy, rising up nearly 1,300 metres (some 4,200 feet), several dozen sensors record seismic activity, the temperature of the gas emitted by the volcano and topographical changes.

Interesting article

A Day in Pompeii- Melbourne Museum

‘A Day in Pompeii’

Although the exhibition does not open until June, there is much talk and excitement about the soon to come ‘A Day in Pompeii’ exhibition. Taking on this exhibition is quite a good initiative considering that up to June 29 they had 2 body casts on display.

The Exhibit

The exhibit will feature “hundreds” of objects including room-size frescoes, marble and bronze sculptures, jewellery, gold coins and everyday household items


Event Type: Temporary Exhibition

Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays, 26 Jun – 25 Oct 2009

10:00 AM – 5:00 PM

Thursdays, 26 Jun – 11 Oct 2009

10:00 AM – 9:00 PM

Melbourne Museum Touring Hall

Adult $20 Concessions $14 Child $12 Family $54

melbournemuseum A Day in Pompeii  Melbourne Museum

pompeii A Day in Pompeii  Melbourne Museum