Multispectral Imaging Reveals Herculaneum Scrolls
The National Geographic channel has a short video on their website documenting the discovery and deciphering of some ancient scrolls recovered from a Herculaneum villa, which was covered with ash by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in A.D. 79.
Of interest is the process that was used to read them. Called “multispectral imaging” the process adjusts the light (reflection) spectrums to distinguish the presence of ink even when the paper itself has become so dark it is unreadable. As these scrolls were in a volcanic eruption, they are badly burned and charred --- however using this technology, scientists were able to read these texts as if they were not brunt at all.
This same process has been used elsewhere, notability with some of the less readable Dead Sea scrolls --- and more recently to help authenticate the Gospel of Judas --- in fact the same BYU team that is helping to decipher the Herculaneum scrolls helped authenticate the recently published Gnostic Gospel.
These scrolls however are thought to be mostly Greek philosophic writings.