Brigham Young University's Herculaneum papyri project continues to gain support among American and European scholars. The project's director, Roger T. Macfarlane, an associate professor of classics at BYU, was invited to serve on the organizing board of the nascent Herculaneum Society, which was inaugurated in Oxford, England, on 3 July 2004. The society promotes international attention on scholarship and fund-raising related to the ancient town of Herculaneum and its Villa of the Papyri. Together with David Armstrong, a classics professor at the University of Texas at Austin, Macfarlane will direct the North American division of the Herculaneum Society. "There is no secret," he says, "that the society is eager to capitalize on our project's success."
During the society's first year, a DVD copy of the KBYU-TV documentary Out of the Ashes is being offered as a perk for all new members. The board feels sure that the documentary's high quality will attract donors to the society's cause. The documentary, which has won two international awards and a prestigious Bronze Telly Award during 2004, tells the history of the Herculaneum papyri as well as the story of how BYU's Center for the Preservation of Ancient Religious Texts (CPART, a sister organization of FARMS) has applied multispectral imaging technology to the scrolls. Information about the documentary is available online at www.byubroadcasting.org/ashes. The Herculaneum Society can be visited at www.herculaneum.ox.ac.uk, and the site contains a link to the inaugural edition of the newsletter Herculaneum Archaeology. To stay abreast of BYU's ongoing work on the Herculaneum papyri, visit the CPART Web site at http://cpart.byu.edu and select the "Herculaneum" link.