AI could help unearth a trove of lost classical texts
- Computers could let archaeologists read hundreds of burnt scrolls from a Roman library
THE OBJECT known as P.Herc.Paris.3 resembles a dark grey lump of charcoal, about the size and shape of a banana. That explains its nickname: Banana Boy. It is in fact a papyrus scroll, found in the ruins of a villa in the Roman town of Herculaneum, in Campania. Along with hundreds of other scrolls in the villa’s library, it was carbonised when scorching gases engulfed the town during the same eruption of Mount Vesuvius, in 79AD, that also buried the nearby town of Pompeii.