Deciphering the Ancient Scrolls of Herculaneum
Deciphering the Ancient Scrolls of Herculaneum
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Nearly two-thousand years ago, Mount Vesuvius buried the ancient city of Herculaneum, and with it, a library full of ancient papyrus scrolls. In 2018, Bill Whitaker reported on an international race to unravel the scrolls' secrets.

Herculaneum (/hɜːrkjʊˈleɪniəm/; Neapolitan and Italian: Ercolano) was an ancient Roman town, located in the modern-day comune of Ercolano, Campania, Italy. Herculaneum was buried under volcanic ash and pumice in the Eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD.

Like the nearby city of Pompeii, Herculaneum is famous as one of the few ancient cities to be preserved nearly intact, as the ash that blanketed the town protected it against looting and the elements. Although less known than Pompeii today, it was the first and, for a long time, the only discovered Vesuvian city (in 1709). Pompeii was revealed in 1748 and identified in 1763.

Unlike Pompeii, the mainly pyroclastic material that covered Herculaneum carbonized and preserved more wooden objects such as roofs, beds, and doors, as well as other organic-based materials such as food and papyrus.

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