The private library at the Villa of the Papyri, the only library preserved from the classical world, was unearthed in 1753 and is providing an unparalleled look into the classical era. The most serious problem facing scholars of this collection is that its 1800 fragile scrolls are carbonized and often difficult or impossible to read with the unaided eye. In 1999 Professor Marcello Gigan
te initiated a joint project between the Center and the Biblioteca Nationale to subject the papyri to Multi-Spectral imaging. During the subsequent three years over 30,000 images were made of the extant papyrus fragments. Scholars have responded well to the project. Recently Professor Richard Janko of the University of Michigan wrote that "all future study of the Herculaneum papyri will gain enormously from this development [of the multi-spectral images]."
This project is now coordinated by Prof. Roger Macfarlane (Department of Humanities, Classics and Comparative Literature, BYU).