Artificial Intelligence Deciphers Ancient Mysteries

Artificial intelligence (AI) has become an indispensable tool in numerous fields, from medicine to industry. Today, it is demonstrating its effectiveness in a new domain: deciphering the enigmas of the ancient world.

Researchers from the University of Pisa in Italy have announced the use of AI to decode papyri found in Herculaneum, a town near Pompeii that was destroyed by a volcanic eruption in 79 AD.

These papyri were preserved in the Villa dei Papiri, which was buried under the lava and ash of the eruption. Since the rolls are carbonized, their deciphering requires special techniques.

Using infrared imaging and X-ray micro-scanning tomography, researchers were able to visualize the carbonized papyri, identify, and translate parts of their content.

The results revealed the location of the tomb of the Greek philosopher Plato, as well as new information about his sale as a slave, either in 404 or 399 BC, and not in 387 BC. This discovery highlights the technology’s potential to broaden our understanding of history and its most important figures.

This breakthrough follows the success of the “Fizzi” challenge, launched in March 2023 to decode a complete set of Herculaneum papyri. These advancements represent a significant step towards a better understanding of the history and culture of the ancient world.


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