Ancient papyrus scrolls charred in the same volcanic eruption that wiped out the city of Pompeii are a step closer to revealing their secrets thanks to a cutting-edge application of X-rays.
The eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in 79 AD also leveled the nearby town of Herculaneum. At the time, hundreds of papyrus scrolls inside a villa in the town were carbonized rather than incinerated. The outside was charred, but the writing remained on the inside.