By ELEANOR HEDGES DUROY, age 12

PHOTO: Eleanor Hedges-Duroy
PHOTO: Eleanor Hedges-Duroy

In AD 79, Mount Vesuvius erupted, covering Herculaneum, Italy, in hot gases and lava. In 1752, workers uncovered one house, which likely belonged to Julius Caesar’s father-in-law, containing a library of more than 350 scrolls of papyrus. Most attempts to read the fragile scrolls have resulted in their destruction. Recently, physicists have created a technique called X-ray phase-contrast imaging and identified letters inside the scrolls. This creates hope for someday interpreting these important writings from ancient philosophers.