To get some idea of the internal structure of the Bressingham Roll, it was instructive to generate a fly-though animation. This peels away the scroll, layer by layer showing what is underneath various layers of parchment and how they are stuck together (if they are).
The videos below show two different “cuts” though the roll. The first is parallel to the long axis of the roll. The second is across the long axis of the roll – equivalent to making slices of a Swiss roll.
In this video, you can make out some writing – in places the ink was clear enough to give a good X-Ray contrast with minimal post-processing needed to make it visible.
You can see some dark marks on the parchment in this video, some of these are ink, others are some other material in the roll that is also showing up strongly in X-Rays. It’s much harder to recognise the writing in this view, because it isn’t presented to you in the usual format you see it.
This pleasing endorsement of the project arrived from Dr John Alban at the Norfolk Record Office.
Through my colleagues in the Norfolk Record Offices conservation section, I have been following your project with great interest, and we were pleased to provide you with a non-archival, non contextual off-cut on which to experiment. It has been intriguing to see the results of your processes for reading unrolled manuscripts and the way in which they have been improving. The latest example which I have seen has amazing legibility, and I am sure that this process is going to provide archivists and historians with an invaluable means of gaining access to the contents of rolled-up documents which, because of their condition, have hitherto been unreadable.
Thanks to the efforts of Meagen Smith studying at Camberwell, the small scroll of parchment from the Norfolk Archives has been successfully unrolled. We can now compare the X-Ray digital unrolling with the until now hidden text.
Unrolled Norfolk Archives parchment
Digitally extracted text from the XMT scanned parchment scroll
It is clear that the extracted text is from the middle portion of the scroll and the text matches perfectly.