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Cardiff ­niversity's New X-Ray Method Reveals Ancient Scroll

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X-ray tomography allows the researchers to view the interior of burnt or otherwise damaged scrolls.

Cardiff University researchers have developed a technique for using x-ray tomography to reveal hidden text inside damaged and unreadable scrolls.

Credit: Cardiff University

Researchers at Cardiff University in the U.K. have developed an x-ray tomography technique to reveal hidden text inside damaged and unreadable scrolls.

"Virtual unraveling" can create thousands of thin cross sections of the scroll, where ink appears as bright blobs. The team then uses computer algorithms to stitch together the cross sections and associated ink marks to form a flat representation of the scroll.

The reserchers used the new method to reveal text inside a severely burnt 16th century scroll, which was found to contain detailed information on life in a manor. Said Cardiff University's Paul Rosin, "The method we've developed is heavily automated, opening up the possibility of exploring a larger range of documents and even other types of media, such as old and damaged camera films."

From BBC News
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