back to article SECRETS of the LOST SCROLLS unlocked by key to HEALTHY BOOBS

Carbonised scrolls from a Roman library destroyed in a volcanic eruption are being read using a cunning X-ray technique more commonly employed in medical screening for breast cancer, boffins have announced. The scrolls in question are the famous Herculaneum library ones. Herculaneum was a Roman resort located on the Bay of …

  1. Pen-y-gors

    I love science!

    It will be wonderful if they can actually read entire scrolls with this technique. Who knows what lost works from the classical period may be found? There may well be a lot of boring stuff, but so many works of classical authors are lost or known in only one copy, we may be lucky and get some new Pliny or Catullus to make the life of future N. Molesworths hell!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I love science! - Catullus

      You think n molesworth read Catullus? I think either you need to acquaint yourself better with this author or you're taking the mick.

      Catullus would today be blocked by the Cameron-May nannynet. Read Catullus 11 if you don't believe me, in which he speculates that if he gets sent to the far reaches of the Empire his girlfriend will be giving hernias to lots of other men.

      1. bygjohn

        Re: I love science! - Catullus

        Catullus was part of the O-Level Latin syllabus when I did it in the mid-70s.

        Not the really rude poems, but as everyone immediately bought the Penguin translation we immediately read them all.

        Poem 97 was one that sticks in the mind! Suggest googling for a translation...

  2. Anonymous Coward

    Wouldn't it be great....

    ...if they read:

    Just read a great book by Mohammed, given me a great idea for my own book, must get around to writing it sometime.

    Anyway having a lovely time, love Jesus.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Wouldn't it be great....

      shurely the other way round - or does time run the wrong way?

      1. phil dude

        Re: Wouldn't it be great....

        "This is a fake".

        <mirror>Sorry couldn't stay Love, The Doctor.</mirror>


      2. Anonymous Coward

        Re: Wouldn't it be great....

        Good point.

        Still both religions are pretty similar and have many of the same references, unfortunately people prefer to argue /kill over the differences..

        1. AJ MacLeod

          Re: Wouldn't it be great.... (@Lost all faith)

          Anyone who thinks that Christianity is anything like Islam clearly hasn't even the most basic understanding of either.

          1. phil dude

            Re: Wouldn't it be great.... (@Lost all faith)

            Harry Potter vs LOTR?


            Batman vs Superman?

            About the same level of factual accuracy....


          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Wouldn't it be great.... (@Lost all faith)

            So you're saying that when Arnaud of Citeaux, with the support of the Pope, attacked Beziers and massacred 20 000 people, saying "Kill them all, God will recognise his own", simply because they had slightly different Christian beliefs, that was nothing at all like Daesh murdering people for belonging to a less vicious version of Islam?I imagine too the Hundred Years War was just a nickname for an argument between two magazine editors. I'm glad we've cleared that up. I wouldn't want to think that there could be any confusion between one lot of people murdering another lot of people over religion, and one lot of people murdering another lot of people over religion.

            1. AJ MacLeod

              Re: Wouldn't it be great.... (@Arnaut the less)

              The pope was acting in direct contradiction to the teachings of Scripture (not a particularly unusual situation throughout history) and was concerned entirely with his own political power and not in the least about faith. Not particularly complicated, is it? Just because someone claims to be Christian doesn't mean that they are one; "by their fruits ye shall know them." Funnily enough, it specifically says that those who exhibit hatred, discord, selfish ambition etc are not Christians no matter what they claim.

      3. David Pollard

        Re: A/C "Does time run the wrong way?"

        Yes, in both directions.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Wouldn't it be great....

      I bet it says "ROMANES EUNT DOMUS".

      1. paulll

        Re: Wouldn't it be great....

        People called,'Romans,' they go the 'ouse?

    3. Graham Marsden

      Re: Wouldn't it be great....

      Or, of course...

      "To my Darling Candy;

      "All characters portrayed within this book are Fictitious, and any resemblance to persons living or dead is purely coincidental."

  3. Peter Ford

    Will this work

    to read the phone number from the that went through the wash in my trouser pocket?

  4. JimmyPage Silver badge

    Maybe they'll find out what Greek fire was ..

    or other ancient mysteries - like who made the Antitheka mechanism ...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Maybe they'll find out what Greek fire was ..

      If you mean the Antikythera Mechanism, although we can't read the maker's name on it, its operation has been deciphered by equally advanced techniques.

  5. Tom 7

    Be a little ironic to learn they're just a horded collection of

    Page III's and other art pamphlets.

  6. Valerion

    The Sun

    I really hope that, given the equipment involved, the scrolls turn out to contain Roman Page 3 girls.

    1. Richard Taylor 2

      Re: The Sun

      Given much archeological evidence I think you are on to a good bet.

      1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

        Re: The Sun

        There's a public bath in Pompeii, not exclusive or expensive. So aimed at the ordinary Roman. It's got some very graphic paintings on the wall - lots of lovelies having sex. It's quite Kama Sutra like in that each picture is a different sexual position.

        The first theory was that this was just a nice bit of decoration, as who doesn't like to look at porn while having a wash?

        But then they compared it to other sites and came to a much more fun conclusion. Each painting is next to a wall feature that's associated with a basket for your belongings. With a bench below. So this is basically the changing rooms. Lots of the bathers weren't literate, so numbers on your 'locker' aren't much use. But who could forget that their stuff is in the basket next to doggy-style?

        1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

          Re: The Sun

          But who could forget that their stuff is in the basket next to doggy-style?

          See, this is what you get when UI designers actually pay attention to what users want.

    2. P. Lee

      Re: The Sun

      Given that its from Herculaneum and given what we know of Pompeii, its likely to be a lot more graphic than page 3.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Interesting but not really breast scan tech

    Pedantic but mamography use amplitude not phase contrast imaging. They may use tomographic techniques. but it is the phase contrast technoque that makes these amazing images possible rather than boring old X-ray tomography. The concept of phase contrast imaging at X-ray energies is genuinely amazing (at least to me).

    I think there is research on using phase contrast X-ray imaging for medical applications but I do not think there are any actual commercial systems and the research is probably limitted to locations that have access to synchrotron X-ray sources.

    1. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Re: Interesting but not really breast scan tech

      "Pedantic but mamography use amplitude not phase contrast imaging."

      And perhaps not for much longer, given that far-infrared imaging looks to be far more reliable without exposing people to ionising radiation or sticking boobs in what amounts to a vice(*) (the biggest problem is getting the right equipment into the field to do diagnostic imaging. Mammogram X-ray (squash club) equipment took 30+ years to be commonplace)

      (*) The "squash" part of mammograms is what puts a lot of women off. My partner was a radiographer doing them and adequately demonstrated that you _can_ perform mammograms on a male and that they hurt a lot.

      1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

        Re: Interesting but not really breast scan tech

        sticking boobs in what amounts to a vice

        The real problem, I think, is sticking them in a vise. Many vices are improved by boobs, and vice versa.

    2. Heathroi

      Re: Interesting but not really breast scan tech

      to be pedantic, this the pedantic icon

      1. PNGuinn

        Re: Pedant Icon

        NO, to be perfectly pedantic, that's the Pedantic Grammar Nazi Alert icon. Please do not use it for other forms of pedantry. Tnankyou.

        1. Martin Budden Silver badge

          Re: Pedant Icon @ PNGuinn


          I think you meant to type "Thank you".

          Thank you.

  8. Inventor of the Marmite Laser Silver badge

    Obligatory Frankie Howerd reference

    "SECRETS of the LOST SCROLLS unlocked by BREAST SCAN tech" - Titter ye not!

    1. TitterYeNot

      Re: Obligatory Frankie Howerd reference

      Yes, hello? Oh, I see, sorry, do carry on...

      While I'm here, can I just say that I really hope that this new technology won't make the excuse "Sir, the dog ate my homework" obsolete

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hell, I had this idea when I was 10

    It's how you read mail without opening the envelope.

    I will grant that distinguishing ink (carbon) from burnt papyrus (more carbon) is trickier that that.

    1. David Pollard

      Re: Hell, I had this idea when I was 10

      And where did you say you are working now?

      1. admiraljkb

        Re: Hell, I had this idea when I was 10

        Probably works for Jupiter Mining Corp hoping nobody figures out he's actually "Dennis the Doughnut Boy".

  10. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    The way things are going with libraries hereabouts it might turn out to be easier to read books from the Herculaneum library than from the local one.

    1. Richard Taylor 2

      You mean you have a geographically locaL library in the UK?

  11. frank ly

    Other applications?

    Will it work on those scratch-to-reveal lottery tickets? If I was working in this area, I'd be making friends with lots of corner-shop owners.

  12. Bob Dole (tm)

    I really don't like announcements like this.

    How about you go ahead and "read" then translate the scrolls THEN announce you've got something cool along with publishing that translation. Or is "content" so completely dead that no one even cares anymore.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I thought the story was primarily about the technology.

      I think that's pretty cool in its own right.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      No point in waiting for a translation

      Most of the people who care about and are capable of properly understanding an ancient document can read Latin and Greek. Other people would be better off with a summary and commentary. In most cases they would misunderstand a translation, if they could be bothered to read it.

    3. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      "How about you go ahead and "read" then translate the scrolls THEN announce"

      Probably because it will take a lot more time and money to move on to actually getting significant usable data and they need to a) satisfy the grant giver they are getting value for money and b) they need more grants, possibly from other interested sources, to keep going.

  13. Mark 85

    The tech is fascinating but what's on scrolls?

    Insights into daily life such as the Roman equivalent of the The Daily Mail <or fill in news rag of choice>? Boring like the equivalent of the Congressional Record? Or eagerly await by guys everywhere.... Roman porn?

  14. Stevie


    Exclusive page III pictures of Lutetia Hiltonius: clumsy chariot dismount gives The Examiner's readers a chance to check for themselves the veracity of those "going Grecian" rumours with a lucky up-toga woodcut you won't want to miss. Also, Augustus's calendar changes: vital for Rome's farmers or simply a pain in the cloaca for everyone without "Caesar" in his name? Our latest poll lets YOU decide!"

    1. Shovel

      Re: Bah!


  15. John Savard

    Well, there are so many lost books of antiquity the absence of which is lamented, I hope that they will find one or more of those among these scrolls.

  16. Jim Birch

    Has Lewis Page lost the plot? Surely fact that these scrolls can still be read is evidence that global warming is a left wing hippie scam. Shouldn't the scrolls have burned up or fallen apart or or something if the earth was really heating up like they say.

    1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      Um, those scrolls were instantly carbonized in the burning cloud from Hell vomited by the Vesuvius.

      A rise of one or two degrees average on a global temperature that remains well below 100°C is not going to change much for them now.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Fifty Shades of Greek

  18. Neoc

    I just had an "Inherit The Stars" moment.

    1. Slin_NL_DK

      Thank you for pointing this out. That was my first thought as well. James P. Hogan was well ahead when writing the giant's series.

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