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Frontiers and discovery


Vesuvius scroll
It may look like firewood, but it’s actually a book.


Yesterday I linked to a newly discovered copy of the Gospel of Mark that had been papier-mâché into a mummy’s head. This is thought to be the earliest existing copy.  Today, I read that scientist think they may have discovered a way to read scrolls carbonized when Vesuvius buried Pompeii. How cool is that?
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Researchers have found a key that may unlock the only library of classical antiquity to survive along with its documents, raising at least a possibility of recovering vanished works of ancient Greek and Roman authors such as the lost books of Livy’s history of Rome.

The library is that of a villa in Herculaneum, a town that was destroyed in A.D. 79 by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius that obliterated nearby Pompeii. Though Pompeii was engulfed by lava, a mix of superhot gases and ash swept over Herculaneum, preserving the documents in a grand villa that probably belonged to the family of Lucius Calpurnius Piso Caesoninus, the father-in-law of Julius Caesar.

Technology has already helped us discover the lost city of Tanis and several lost pyramids, plus given rise to a new field: space archeology!

Sometimes it seems as if we’ve discovered all that’s discoverable without a warp drive, that all the frontiers are closed. It is true that no one is going to find another continent, but even on earth there are unexplored regions. However, even the most inaccessible regions like the deep ocean are not entirely mysterious, thanks to new technologies.

But beyond the geographical regions, historical and scientific discoveries are being made all the time. Where one kind of frontier and exploration has closed, many more have opened, and the desire to learn more about these frontiers leads to the development of new technologies (or the new application of existing tech), which leads to more discovery. In fact, the Age of Discovery will never end for those with imagination, initiative, and some really cool tools.


2 responses to “Frontiers and discovery”

  1. Carrie Avatar

    I’m geeking out about the Gospel of Mark in a mummy’s head!!!

    1. April Avatar

      I know! It gives me a new found respect for paper mache, my least favorite paper craft. Oh, who am I kidding. I hate all paper crafts.

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