Illuminating the dark: Approaches to reading charred papyri from Herculaneum
Abstract: While the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius was a devastating event at the time, digs around it have uncovered well preserved relics of the time, charred and preserved in a dry state. This includes around 1800 papyri, discovered in what is now know is the Villa of the papyri in the village of Herculaneum. These papyri are rather unique, as almost no other documents from the time have survived the last two millennia to be read today. However, due to large amount of charring, most of these papyri cannot mechanically be unrolled and are unread to this day.
I will talk about suggested methods of imaging and virtual unrolling to make these scrolls readable, tests of those methods and the current state of affairs.