High-tech imaging of ancient papyrus may shed light into writing of early societies

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Washington, July 13 (ANI): A team of researchers and scholars are using high-tech imaging to clear the layers of text hidden beneath words and letters written on levels of ancient papyrus, which may reveal fascinating insights into the writing and everyday life of early Egyptian, Greek and Roman societies.

As part of the research, a team of national researchers and scholars examined dozens of papyri among the thousands of papyrological pieces in the University of Michigan (U-M) collection for the last four weeks.

Using multi-spectral imaging, the Ancient Textual Imaging Group, led by acclaimed papyrology expert Stephen Bay of Brigham Young University, examined ancient text written on papyrus that had become illegible because they are stained, discolored and faded.

Throughout July, scholars and students at the Papyrological Institute, hosted by U-M, will examine the newly recorded images, aiming to piece together a picture of a world that until now has been hidden.

Findings from the newly enhanced images of the papyri will be released as early as August.

"These new images give us insight into the writing and life of generations existing two, maybe three generations before the readable text was written," said Arthur Verhoogt, U-M associate professor of papyrology and Greek studies.

Papyrus was used before the invention of paper around 1000 A.D.

Everything from literary texts, police reports and legal decrees to letters from soldiers and shopping lists were recorded on the sort of papier-mache material.

Many papyri were reused with text on the back side, or users would wash away text and write atop deleted words and phrases. (ANI)

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