A Tale of Two Cities Caught in Time
July 2, 2015 1:52 AM   Subscribe

While the ancient city of Herculaneum is experiencing something of a archaeological renaissance, the nearby site of ancient city of Pompeii is falling apart due to a cocktail of mismanagement, corruption, weather, neglect, and the decisions of the past. The Smithsonian provides an overview.

While Pompeii has been in the news for landslides and structural collapses (and medical analyses of paintings of men's gentalia), Herculaneum's unique collection of antique scrolls made news this winter.

In January, it was revealed that 3D Xrays could differentiate letters deep inside a coiled scroll found at Herculaneum. (Original article at Nature)

Bonus links:
A nice set of virtual tours of Herculaneum | You can see the ancient city of Pompeii via Google Street View
posted by julen (12 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
 
Dude. That 3d xray thing is AMAZING
"What we see is that the ink, which was essentially carbon based, is not very different from the carbonised papyrus," Dr Mocella explained.

Fortunately, however, the ink never penetrated into the fibres of the papyrus, but sat on top of them.

"So the letters are there in relief, because the ink is still on the top."

It was this extra thickness - just a tenth of a millimetre - that revealed the strokes of the letters, even after volcanic incineration and two millennia underground
posted by sio42 at 4:45 AM on July 2, 2015 [5 favorites]


Ah, Herculaneum: the Hydrox to Pompeii's Oreo.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 4:57 AM on July 2, 2015 [7 favorites]


Well yeah, because Hydrox are better. Even if they do sound like some sort of industrial detergent.
posted by leotrotsky at 6:12 AM on July 2, 2015 [3 favorites]


Martian for "nose hairs" as a matter of fact.
posted by Morvran Avagddu at 6:17 AM on July 2, 2015


Gerrae this is hard to read, as much as I am psyched that Herculaneum is getting more attention. Thanks for this!
posted by Busithoth at 7:12 AM on July 2, 2015


If you like Herculaneum and you like webcomics and you're not reading SPQR Blues, you absolutely should be.
posted by Pallas Athena at 10:08 AM on July 2, 2015


Hydrox and Oreo sound like characters from Greek mythology.
posted by rhizome at 12:57 PM on July 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


Well yeah, because Hydrox are better.

I will fight you! At least if we're talking trans-fat included Oreos
posted by wierdo at 8:13 PM on July 2, 2015


Hydrox had lard, it's as simple as that.
posted by rhizome at 8:58 PM on July 2, 2015


Yet somehow they managed to taste like stale Oreos to everyone except my dad.
posted by wierdo at 9:38 PM on July 2, 2015


Good things don't need a lot of lies told about them.
posted by rhizome at 11:06 PM on July 2, 2015


I don't even know what that means. Pick a side and be clear about it! (ノಠ益ಠ)ノ彡┻━┻
posted by wierdo at 11:24 PM on July 5, 2015


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