The Image, Text, Interpretation: e-Science, Technology and Documents project (also known as eSAD: ‘e-Science and Ancient Documents’) . The research was undertaken between 2008 and 2011 at the University of Oxford by members of the Faculty of Classics and Engineering Science in collaboration with with University College London, funded under the AHRC-EPSRC-JISC Arts and Humanities e-Science Initiative. The research succeeded in developing and improving image-processing and computing technologies to aid experts in reading ancient documents in their complex tasks. The research focussed on creating tools to improve the visibility and legibility of damaged texts, both ink-written and inscribed on wood, metal, clay and stone, such as cuneiform tablets, stone inscriptions and the Roman stilus tablets from Vindolanda. The creation of equipment for Reflectance Transformation Imaging and user-friendly online viewers was significant advance in supporting these innovations. Furthermore, the project explored ways in which an Interpretation Support System (ISS) can be used in the day-to-day reading of ancient documents and to keep track of progress in the reading and interpretation of damaged and partially preserved documents, recording and tracking the experts’ hypotheses about reading and interpretation as they developed.
Director: Professor Alan Bowman