How to read a scroll that does not open because it is turned into charcoal? The short answer to this question is: with great difficulty. The challenge was prompted by the discovery of a large repository of some 1800 papyrus scrolls (made from plant leafs) in Herculaneum, a Roman city destroyed by an eruption of the Vesuvius in AD 79. They came to light in the 18th century, having been buried under tons of volcano ashes for almost 2000 years. Naturally, they were all pretty much toast. If you touch them they fall apart (pic 3), unrolling them is an impossibility. This is particularly sad because scrolls of that age are a joy to look at, as the famous 3rd-century Heracles Papyrus shows - a poem that even contains an illustration (pic 4). However, over the past few years various attempts have been made to visualize the scrolls’ contents by scanning them, including with the help of CT-scans. Although it allows us to look inside, even if the scroll is still embedded in hardened lava (pic 2), no actual text has been retrieved as of yet. The sad looking scrolls (that eerily resemble animal droppings) make for beautiful - if somewhat unreal - photography.
More information - You must watch this amazing You Tube film of a scroll being scanned. About the Herculaneum papyri here. More about the scanning process here and here.
Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue—or in this case, a penny for good luck! An X-ray taken in 2005 of Grace Kelly’s wedding shoe reveals the keeping of this tradition with a coin hidden deep inside the shoes. In the X-ray, the penny is clearly outlined against the shank of her right shoe; the tacks and screws at the heels and decorative beaded rosettes on the vamps are also visible.
To learn more about the shoes themselves, visit HERE.