So what appears to be happening is that we've got some lover of Classics using the media to create some hype about the Villa of the Papyri! This is great because when this call to excavate first came out, it was met with a resounding round of indifference. It was brought up again in March, and again seems to have fallen on deaf ears. Now, because of that 'number of the beast' thing, there's been great attention drawn to the technology available to read this stuff and this Independent piece is clearly designed to get folks 'licking their lips in anticipation' of what might be found there. Consider how many mummies are now being CT scanned since they gave Tut the treatment (every week in Explorator there's one). Bravo! Well done! Let's see where it goes from here ....
If so, I'm not sure the conspiracy has been all that successful, since the article is quite ambivalent about the idea of further excavations any time soon. Personally, I hope that the money can be found for both conservation and excavation. Both are extremely important.
Incidentally, my usual quibble: The Independent article says of the Villa of the Papyri:
Thanks to the fluke of its preservation within the inferno of the eruption, this is by far the oldest extant library in the world.
This is not true at all. Sumerian libraries have been recovered which were older at the time of the eruption of Vesuvius than the Herculaneum library is today.
Anyhow, I hope the plot of these mild-mannered papyrologist masterminds succeeds in increasing public interesting in ancient Heculaneum and its library.