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Machine for unrolling papyrus scrolls

Machine for unrolling papyrus scrolls

V900/0108

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Credit

PASQUALE SORRENTINO / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY PASQUALE SORRENTINO / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

Machine for unwrapping papyrus scrolls. This device was invented in the 18th century by Reverend Antonio Piaggio, an expert on ancient manuscripts from the Vatican library. He was called upon to help with the first excavations of the ancient Roman town of Herculaneum. One excavated villa, the Villa of the Papyri, was found to contain a library of 1800 papyrus scrolls. These had been carbonised and preserved by the volcanic ash that buried the town following the eruption of the volcano Vesuvius in 79 AD. In order to minimise damage to the scrolls, Piaggio invented this machine to unroll them. The scrolls were attached to silken threads and gently unravelled under tension.

Release details

Model release not required. Property release not required.

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