“From Damage to Discovery via Virtual Unwrapping: Reading the Scroll from En-Gedi” — a talk by Brent Seales
This public lecture is part of the 2016-17 Andrew W. Mellon Sawyer Seminar: "Cultural and Textual Exchanges: The Manuscript Across Premodern Eurasia," which brings to UI an internationally recognized roster of experts in the manuscript cultures of Eurasia [400-1500 CE].
Brent Seales is Professor and Chair of Computer Science and Director of the Center for Visualization and Virtual Environments (Vis Center) at the University of Kentucky. He earned his PhD in Computer Science at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1991. His research program centers on computer vision and visualization applied to challenges in the digital restoration of antiquities, surgical technology, and data visualization. In the 2012-13 academic year he was a Google Visiting Scientist in Paris, France. In 2015, Dr. Seales and his research team identified the oldest known copy of the book of Leviticus (other than the Dead Sea Scrolls), carbon dated to the third century C.E. The artifact containing the text, which was excavated at En-Gedi in 1972, was too damaged to be opened and read. Seales and his research team provided a reading of the text from non-invasive micro-CT scans. The digital recovery of the readable text was recognized by Christianity Today magazine as the most significant discovery in biblical archaeology of 2015 and was published in Science Advances in 2016.