Monday, March 21, 2016

Lead in the ink?

Researchers think some of the charred scrolls from Herculaneum used lead in the ink. With a fine enough beam and good detectors, one might be able to reconstruct the writing on the different layers of the scroll without trying to unwrap it. It would take some doing: the letters are not uniform, they're on curved surfaces, and the scattering from all layers mixes together. But it looks interesting. I'd guess that if they get the go-ahead, it might take another 10 years. I assume they'd have to build a rig that would slowly move the scroll to and fro through the beam--too hard to pan the beam.

The abstract is here: you can't get the article without a subscription.

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