(WMC-TV) – A group of Ole Miss students, including one from Collierville, are uncovering and even re-writing history.
They helped restore some historical documents that only a handful of people have ever seen.
"They're priceless treasures," Ole Miss student, Eleanor Anthony said.
"Almost no one has seen it, and almost no one has touched it either," Professor Gregory Heyworth said.
Instead of soaking up sun rays on spring break, the team of freshmen and sophomores just returned from Italy with Dr. Heyworth, where they used light rays to restore some of the oldest English manuscripts that date back to the tenth century.
"You have large sections of the document that are completely blackened," Anthony said.
A previous restoration attempt forever damaged the text. But through the Ole Miss Lazarus project, the teams use cameras, lights, and technology to recover the writings with spectral imaging.
Meredith Oliver is from Collierville and is among a handful of people to ever see or touch the Vercelli Manuscript. The group was even featured on an Italian TV news program.
"It's still kind of hard to fathom that I got to touch something that's so important to history and help recover that," Oliver said.
The undergraduates said the hands-on work is opening their eyes to history that could be restored, and Heyworth said it worked on a twelfth century Globe Map in Italy.
"On the map of mundi we were actually able to get results on the spot in recovering some of the text," student Leign Anne Zook said. "The academic research that we were doing, it's just unlike anything that's being done in the field right now."
The team at Ole Miss continues to look for ways to restore other historical documents.
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