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The Lost Scrolls of Pompeii: New Revelations | Preview (Channel 5)

Professor Alice Roberts uncovers the ground-breaking science being used by computer scientist Prof Brent Seales as he attempts to become the first person in nearly 2,000 years to read inside hundreds of ancient scrolls found at the archaeological site of Herculaneum in Italy.

Carbonised in the eruption of Vesuvius in the year 79 that also preserved the Roman town of Pompeii, the scrolls were rediscovered in excavations that took place during the 18th century.

Many experts believe that the scrolls contain works of ancient literature, philosophy and history that have been lost in the thousands of years since they were written.

For the past 250 years people have tried to unlock the lost ancient wisdom hidden inside the scrolls, but they’re so fragile that attempts to physically open them have reduced have reduced almost all of them to dust.

Now, Alice travels to Naples to follow Brent’s work as he combines cutting-edge scanning techniques with his own artificial intelligence software, to attempt to teach a computer to read inside the scrolls without ever having to open them. Alice discovers that experts have been able to identify previously lost ancient works from the damaged fragments of already opened scrolls, before Brent reveals his astonishing results.

The Lost Scrolls of Pompeii: New Revelations airs Sunday 12th May at 9pm on Channel 5.


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