Charred Herculaneum papyri, infrared beds

A papyrus roll found in the Villa dei Papiri in Ercolano, fresh from the eruption of 79 AD and read only today thanks to a short-wave infrared spectrum laboratory. This is the result of the research carried out in the National Library of Naples by an international team coordinated by Graziano Ranocchia, of the Institute for European intellectual lexicon and history of ideas of the National Research Council. Work began last February and has brought the group to the deciphering of the Greek text hidden on the back of the famous History of the Academy of Philodemus of Gadara (110-40 BC), one of the 1840 scrolls preserved from the ashes of Vesuvius, as well as part of a larger work entitled Rassegna dei Filosofi , the oldest history of Greek philosophy in our possession. “We have read texts – explains Ranocchia – that were lost for centuries, this extraordinary collection gives us unpublished works of illustrious Greek philosophers such as Epicurus and Chrysippus, now we would be interested in applying this technique to all the collection, to do this we already have a loan of one million euros from the European Union and we have another in v assessment now “.

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