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Lexington, Kentucky
Unwrapping the Ancient Past

The Digital Restoration Initiative at the University of Kentucky began with the goal of digitally unwrapping the Herculaneum papyri, a set of about 1000 ancient scrolls that were preserved in the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius. The papyri are too fragile to open physically, so researchers have developed new imaging techniques and software that have allowed them to digitally reconstruct the scrolls and their text. Researchers are also developing new applications for the technology to uncover and restore other heritage items. NEH grants helped get the project started and have laid the groundwork for what will be a state-of-the-art heritage technology lab that will serve the region as a whole.

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