Mark de Kreij interviewed about Herculaneum papyri

The contents of charred papyrus scrolls from 79 AD were long thought lost. Thanks to AI, researchers have now managed to decipher a first word. Mark de Kreij, papyrologist and assistant professor at the Faculty of Arts, was interviewed by NPO Radio 1 about this exciting breakthrough and the future possibilities AI offers for his field.

When Vesuvius erupted in 79 AD, the city of Herculaneum was buried under a thick layer of ash, preserving much of the city.  As early as the 18th century, treasure hunters discovered hundreds of charred papyrus scrolls in one of the city's villas. At that time, however, archaeology was hardly developed and the scrolls were too fragile to unroll and read. Now, thanks to the Vesuvius Challenge, researchers have managed to read a first word without opening the scroll.

In a broadcast of radio show OVT, Mark de Kreij outlines the context of his fellow researchers' discovery and talks about what he expects to find in the scrolls. Watch the whole clip here (in Dutch).



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History, Artificial intelligence (AI)