The Apocalypto Project

Our project brings together science, technology and heritage by providing virtual surrogates for fragile and inaccessible objects. We work with archivists, conservators and other members of the heritage industry to scan and then digitally build objects that are would otherwise be unavailable because of their deteriorated physical condition.

Examples of our work include virtually unrolling parchment scrolls from the 1450s, unfolding sealed documents written on paper, scanning plate glass photographs, unfolding a paper lining sewn onto a piece of clothing. We are currently collaborating with Norfolk Archives, London Metropolitan Archives, BBC, University of Leiden and others. Previous partners include The National Archives.

The technology developed specifically for this project involves using high contrast X-ray microtomography (XMT) in conjunction with advanced image processing algorithms. Novel data collection methods in conjunction with computational strategies enable the reading of fragile historic documents without the need to physically manipulate them, thus providing information to a wide range of scholarly disciplines.

In addition to heritage organisations, we work with geologists, biologists, research doctors and anyone who wants a high resolution x-ray image of their object. If you think we can help with your project, please contact the team.

Contact Us

Recent Work

Some images and results from XMT scans heritage items


Signed, Sealed and Undelivered - The Brienne Letters

A tressure chest of sealed 17th century letters just waiting to be read.

MicroCT of Cine Film

Recovering degraded film - attemping the impossible.

The Bressingham Roll

Almost complete text recovery from a partially fused 14th century parchment roll.

Selected Publications

Selected recent & upcoming talks

A public talk on our work using XMT to image the sealed Brienne Letters to enable virtual opening.

Using Micro-CT to save a lost television show

The Ward 16 collecton and our attempts to digitise it without opening it.

Using MicroCT to look at Parchment

How Micro-CT is providing an insight into the sealed Brienne Letters


  • 02078825978
  • G.27 Bancroft Building. QMUL. London. E1 4NS