Close up of someone opening up parcel containing ancient Roman scroll
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Herculaneum scrolls unlocked using photon beams

A scientific breakthrough could make it possible to read papers from the only library to have survived from the times of ancient Rome.

The library was in Herculaneum which, like Pompeii, was destroyed by an eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD.

Hundreds of charred scrolls were found there but it has been impossible to read them.

Now scientists in France have found a way to peer inside the charred scrolls, seeing letters and words for the first time in almost 2000 years.

Hugh Schofield reports.

  • 02 Feb 2015
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