It’s a building of extraordinary dimensions and luxury, but it became also famous for the discovery of more than 1800 charred rolls which form the only library in the ancient world that has come down to us with its original documents.
Most of the papyri were found in the so-called “Library”, a small square space, decorated with simple white plaster, along which the rolls rest on wooden shelves (video down the hall)
In the first phase of the eighteenth-century excavations, the difficulty in recognizing these objects led to the loss of some papyri, since they were not immediately recognized as inscribed rolls, but were thrown because considered pieces of burnt wood and thus without value. Only when, during these operations, one of the rolls fell and opened, diggers realized they were charred papyri. The importance of the discovery immediately aroused great interest, so that a special Academy was created to study the texts of the papyri that are now preserved in an especially set section of the National Library of Naples and so called Officina dei Papiri Ercolanesi.