Sunday, April 17, 2005

New imaging helps decode Oxyrhynchus Papyri

Via Marginal Revolution , a set of badly defaced parchments (some images are here )containing Greek and Roman writings can now be read using infrared illumination. The Oxyrhynchus Papyri were found a century ago in a dump dating from the late Roman period.

The Independent article treats the news somewhat breathlessly, saying that every day something new is coming out. But the Oxyrhynchus Project seems to say that this multi-spectrum work has been going on since 1997. A bit of perspective at Carnivorous Conservative . The IR imaging seems to greatly extend the number of readable parchments.

UPDATE: via Dienekes , at least one papyrologist is fairly suspicions and is saying wait-and-see .

Take a look at this account of the Oxyrhyncus digs during the late Victorian era. Dust, guns, nervous breakdowns, and biscuit tins. Perfect for Mechant and Ivory, or Monty Python-maybe both together.

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