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Herculaneum: Reading the Invisible

Most of the world knows about Pompeii, the ancient roman city on the Gulf of Naples that was famously destroyed and buried for nearly 1,700 years following a catastrophic eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in 79 A.D. Far fewer however have heard of the nearby site of Herculaneum, Pompeii’s sister city which suffered the same fate. While lesser known than Pompeii, Herculaneum is no less special. In fact because of its proximity on the western slope of Vesuvius, and the nature of the eruption that buried it, the city is uniquely preserved; in many ways better than Pompeii. Wooden doors, window frames and even furniture survived at Herculaneum but are non-existent at Pompeii. There are also the skeletons of hundreds of victims found frozen in anguish as they attempted to escape the unimaginable heat and gas of the volcano. What really makes Herculaneum special however is its “Villa dei Papiri” discovered just outside the city and containing the largest library from the ancient world ever found. Herculaneum: Reading the Invisible will be a documentary film that explores this most unique archeological treasure, the attempts and failures to open and read its ancient papyrus and now the creative application of super high-tech imaging and artificial intelligence to “virtually unwrap” the scrolls. For the first time in 2,000 years we are about to learn their secrets.

Associated Members

Jon Dunham, Producer