Impact of New Technology and Research

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Impact of new technology
Deciphering Papyri
* 1800 carbonized papyrus scrolls in Villa of Papyri
* Problem – opening, unrolling and reading of fragile papyri * In recent years, renewed efforts have become evident to decipher the scrolls * Computer enhancement
* Digital imaging used to extract images from scrolls and uncover text that is not visible to human eye. * Pattern image recognition and medical imaging techniques allow the future of deciphering scrolls without unrolling them. Human Remains

Estelle Lazer and the skeletons of Pompeii
* Many human remains found in Pompeii
* Lazer worked on over 300 individuals – stored in the female part of forum baths. * Techniques of forensic medicine and physical anthropology were used to determine sex, age-at-death, height, health and population affinities of the victims – shedded light on many aspects of Pompeian life. * These techniques demonstrated the value of this technology – allowing for careful extraction of details and minimisation of destruction of human remains. Skeletons of Herculaneum – Sara Bisel

* Closely examined 139 skeletons on the beachfront since 1982 * Concluded that:
* Low birth rate – abortion present?
* Wide diverse genetic inheritance of this population
* Evidence for childhood malnutrition and gum disease
* Widespread lead poisoning – due to lead present in everyday items e.g. cups. * Detailed study – 162 skeletons done in 2001 by Lugi Capasso – showed that the people of Pompeii were in good health during their bone growth period * Herculaneum skeletal remains in better condition of preservation that Pompeii due to careful excavation and documentation * Recent studies show more people died from extreme heat, rather than asphyxiation.
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