On the stubbornness of scrolls from the Villa dei Papiri

An article on Kentucky.com on the University of Kentucky’s EDUCE project — Enhanced Digital Unwrapping for Conservation and Exploration — and their efforts to use x-ray scans to read some of the carbonized scrolls from the Villa dei Papiri’s library.

The [University of Kentucky] team spent a month last summer making numerous X-ray scans of two of the scrolls that are stored at the French National Academy in Paris. They hoped that computer processing would convert the scans into digital images showing the interiors of the scrolls and revealing the ancient writing. The main fear, however, was that the Roman writers might have used carbon-based inks, which would be essentially invisible to the scans.

That fear has turned out to be fact.

“We hoped that we could look for calcium or other trace compounds in the ink that might help us tease out the writing,” [Brent Seales, Gill professor of engineering] said. “But that hasn’t worked.”

Seales says he now hopes that re-scanning the scrolls with more powerful X-ray equipment will reveal the text, which scholars are anxious to read.

Seales says that, in addition to the carbon-ink problem, the sheer volume of computer data produced from the X-ray scans overwhelmed UK’s interactive software. That slowed the system to the point that technicians were typing in commands and waiting half an hour or more for a response, he said.

 On the stubbornness of scrolls from the Villa dei Papiri

 On the stubbornness of scrolls from the Villa dei Papiri

Houses of Julius Polybius and the Chaste Lovers

The two houses that form the focus of the Commissioner’s new “Pompei Viva” campaign will be open on a regular basis to visits from 1 June it has been announced. More info here.

Perhaps blog contributers would like to discuss the houses if they’ve visited them – they are certainly causing a lot of debate both positive and negative. Anyone had the chance to visit yet on one of the pre-opening events? If no one wants to comment, I’ll feel obliged to get the ball rolling myself:) – after all you all said on the survey that you’d like more discussion….

 Houses of Julius Polybius and the Chaste Lovers

 Houses of Julius Polybius and the Chaste Lovers

Pompeii in Estonia

A new exhibition at the University of Tartu Art Museum, Estonia, opened yesterday. This is the oldest museum in Estonia, and the only one that holds classical antiquities – and its rooms are decorated in Pompeian-style wall-paintings:

Pompeii in Estonia
 T090370 Pompeii in Estonia

The walls of University of Tartu Art Museum were decorated with imitations of the original Pompeian mural paintings. Imitations of Pompeian mural paintings were highly fashionable at that time all over Europe, especially in Germany with whom Tartu was in close contact. The mural paintings in Univeristy of Tartu Art Museum were done by local painter F. Redlin after Johann K. Zahn’s print album. In addition to Zahn’s lithographic prints, the prints from Charles F. Mazois’s album ‘Les ruines de Pompéi’ are displayed at the exhibition, as well as works from the collections of University of Tartu Art Museum and Art Museum of Estonia.

Check out the museum website for more photos of the rooms and their decoration.

 Pompeii in Estonia

 Pompeii in Estonia

New Publication “Roman Frescoes From Boscoreale”

The Metropolitan Museum of Art have just sent me the soon to be published “Roman Frescoes From Boscoreale – The Villa of Publius Fannius Synistor in Reality and Virtual Reality“, which has contributions form Bettina Bergmann, Stefan De Caro, Joan Mertens and Rudolph Mayer. ISBN 978-0300155198 – it is available for pre order on Amazon at the moment here. My copy has a different cover to that shown however. It would be improper for me to comment on the publication as I was involved in the creation of the 3D visualisation that appears throughout, but for £10 it is a bargain.

 New Publication Roman Frescoes From Boscoreale

 New Publication Roman Frescoes From Boscoreale