Text from PHerc.Pars. 4 (Institute de France), unseen for 2,000 years. The resulting image was produced by the Vesuvius Challenge Grand Prize winning team of Youssef Nader, Luke Farritor, and Julian Schilliger. Fifteen columns of Greek text (ten of which are shown here) are revealed, and are shown on top of the papyrus sheet they are written on. This is the output of a noninvasive software process using X-ray images to peer inside the rolled scroll. © Vesuvius Challenge

The Vesuvius Challenge: Resurrecting a Library of Ancient Scrolls


The Getty Villa and Online

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Hundreds of papyrus scrolls from the Roman Villa dei Papiri at Herculaneum were carbonized by the volcanic eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in CE 79. Since their rediscovery in the 1750s, their fragile condition made it nearly impossible to open and decipher the works of ancient literature they contain without damaging or destroying them – until now.

Hear from the team that spearheaded a groundbreaking challenge to develop an artificial intelligence system that makes the ancient carbon ink become clearly visible. Celebrate with the grand prize winners who applied software techniques to virtually unwrap and read these previously unreadable scrolls.

On the 50th anniversary of the Getty Villa Museum, which is modeled on the Villa dei Papiri, we invite you to honor these innovators who cracked the code. 

The Vesuvius Challenge is an international competition intended to advance machine learning and computer vision solutions to the enigma of the Herculaneum Papyri. Learn more and read the announcement about the winners and what they accomplished.

4:00 p.m.–5:30 p.m. followed by a reception

The Villa dei Papiri at Herculaneum (and Malibu)
Kenneth Lapatin, Getty Museum

The Library of the Villa dei Papiri at Herculaneum
Federica Nicolardi, The University of Naples Federico II, Italy

Unburied by Technology: Revealing the Ancient Library from Herculaneum
Brent Seales, University of Kentucky and Vesuvius Challenge

The Vesuvius Challenge: Where We Go from Here
Nat Friedman, Vesuvius Challenge

Introduction of Vesuvius Challenge Award Winners


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