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The writing in carbonized Herculaneum scrolls, covered and preserved by the pyroclastic events of the Vesuvius in 79 AD, was recently revealed using X-ray phase-contrast tomography, without the need of unrolling the sensitive scrolls. Unfortunately, some of the text is difficult to read due to the interference of the papyrus fibers crossing the written text vertically and horizontally. Recently, lead was found as an elemental constituent in the writing, rendering the text more clearly readable when monitoring the lead X-ray fluorescence signal. Here, several hypotheses are postulated for the origin and state of lead in the papyrus writing. Multi-scale X-ray fluorescence micro-imaging, Monte Carlo quantification and X-ray absorption microspectroscopy experiments are used to provide additional information on the ink composition, in an attempt to determine the origin of the lead in the Herculaneum scrolls and validate the …
Nature Publishing Group
Publication date: 
8 Feb 2016

Pieter Tack, Marine Cotte, Stephen Bauters, Emmanuel Brun, Dipanjan Banerjee, Wim Bras, Claudio Ferrero, Daniel Delattre, Vito Mocella, Laszlo Vincze

Biblio References: 
Volume: 6 Pages: 20763
Scientific reports