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The camera can't see much more through these filters than the eye can, which isn't much.But results tend to be better, using the filters that let in the range of the light spectrum the human eye cannot see. They've been pleased with multispectral imaging at Oxford, too— home of the world's largest collection of ancient papyri: all those fragments excavated from the Oxyrhynchus city dump.

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Excavated from a long-buried city, a half-million papyri fragments now sit in a vault at Oxford University.NOVA science NOW is a trademark of the WGBH Educational Foundation.NOVA science NOW is produced for WGBH/Boston by NOVA.Light in the infrared part of the spectrum, invisible to the naked eye but not the camera, is more likely to pass through what's on the papyrus surface to the ink underneath. They have as many as 500,000 fragments, but only about one percent have been read and published by the few scholars working on them.Uncounted thousands are illegible, in shreds, soiled.He looked a little weathered, and he dressed lazily — shorts and an ill-matching preppy shirt — but he might have once been an All-American quarterback on a trading card. He had thick dark hair and a warm, friendly smile that invited trust.

His eyes were hazel-green, with the quality of canceling out the whole of the world that wasn’t her, their current focus. They had found each other on an over-50 dating site, and she thought his profile — Christian, divorced, physician — seemed safe.

She went to bed thinking, “Jerk.” She thought, “Cross off another one.” The next day she was back at her office, a little sad, trying to lose herself in work.

Over the 30 years that she had built Ambrosia Interior Design, it had been her refuge amid many romantic disappointments.

The fragile fragment is put on a moving imaging bed under a scientific-grade digital camera, which captures high-definition images of the fragment, through a succession of color filters, one filter at a time, a dozen different filters in all.

The light in the range of the spectrum visible to the naked eye, reflects off whatever is on the surface of most of the papyri pieces, the stains, dirt, mummy paint, whatever.

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