Classical and Ancient Near Eastern Studies

College of Letters & Science
HomeEventsDigital Unwrapping: Homer, Herculaneum, and the Scroll from En-Gedi

Digital Unwrapping: Homer, Herculaneum, and the Scroll from En-Gedi

Date: 
October 20, 2017 - 7:00pm
Location: 
Upper House, 365 E. Campus Mall

Presented by Brent Seales, University of Kentucky

The presentation will highlight ground-breaking research that is allowing modern scholars to access carbonized ancient texts that have been unreadable up to now. Professor Seales has developed a software program that digitally unwraps ancient scrolls that have burned to a crisp and are otherwise unreadable. His program successfully analyzed a computerized tomography scan (CT-scan) of a 2,000-year old scroll recovered from the 1970 excavation of a burned synagogue at En Gedi, an oasis on the shore of the Dead Sea in Israel. When the scroll was finally readable, it turned out to be the biblical book of Leviticus. He is also working on virtually unrolling carbonized scrolls recovered from the Villa of the Papyri at Herculaneum, burned but not destroyed by the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in 70 A.D. 
 
Professor Seales earned his PhD in computer science at the University of Wisconsin and is currently chair of the computer science department at the University of Kentucky. 
 
Put this event on your calendar now and spread the word about this special event to mark the 50-year anniversary of the Madison Biblical Archaeology Society.