in

The “Vesuvius Challenge” Is Offering A Prize Of $700,000 To Anyone Who Can Decipher The Contents Of The Herculaneum Scrolls, Which Were Found Underneath Volcanic Mud Created By The Eruption Of Mount Vesuvius In 79 AD

Sergii Figurnyi - stock.adobe.com - illustrative purposes only

During the 1700s, a collection of scrolls, which have been deemed the Herculaneum Scrolls, were unburied from the volcanic ash and rubble created by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD.

The ancient scrolls had originally been kept in the library of a building near Pompeii.

They were found carbonized and effectively preserved underneath 65 feet of volcanic mud. However, previous efforts to interpret the documents were unsuccessful. Anyone who attempted to unroll them would cause them to crumble into pieces.

In the nineteenth century, several scrolls were pulled apart by machine, only for the brittle papyri to disintegrate right away. As a result, researchers were unsure how to proceed.

The writing in the nearly 2,000-year-old scrolls had been considered illegible to the human eye until recently.

Back in March, the “Vesuvius Challenge” was announced, offering up a prize of $700,000 to whoever could decipher the contents of two of the scrolls.

The competition was led by University of Kentucky professor Brent Seales and financed by investors Nat Friedman and Daniel Gross.

With the help of artificial intelligence technology, progress has been made. Now, one word from the scroll can be fully read.

The word “porphyras” can be interpreted as the color purple, purple dye, or cloths of purple in Greek. It was found by a 21-year-old computer science student at the University of Nebraska named Luke Farritor.

Sergii Figurnyi – stock.adobe.com – illustrative purposes only

Sign up for Chip Chick’s newsletter and get stories like this delivered to your inbox.

1 of 2