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More than 108 pages of previously unknown Greek poetry were uncovered beneath more recent Arabic and Georgian texts.Three previously unknown Greek medical treatises have also been found, including one that contains the oldest known recipe credited to Hippocrates, the father of Western medicine.
Tensions between the Muslim world and Christians during the Crusades also made pilgrimages to the monastery more sporadic.
But now these erased passages are reemerging from the past.
In an unlikely collaboration between an Orthodox wing of the Christian faith and cutting-edge science, a small group of international researchers are using specialized imaging techniques that photograph the parchments with different colors of light from multiple angles.
To reveal the erased words on the palimpsests, the researchers photograph each page 12 times while it is illuminated with different-colored visible light, ultraviolet light, and infrared light.
Other images are taken with light shining from behind the page or off to one side at an oblique angle, helping to highlight tiny bumps and depressions in the surface.For centuries they have gathered dust on the shelves of a library marooned in a rocky patch of Egyptian desert, their secrets lost in time.