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

Brent Seales October 20, 2017

Dr. Brent Seales has used his computer science training from the University of Wisconsin to develop software that virtually unwraps ancient scrolls that were otherwise unreadable due to their deteriorated condition. His program was able to read the Hebrew text of Leviticus from a 2,000-year-old scroll discovered 50 years ago in the burned ruins of a synagogue on the shore of the Dead Sea. He’s also working on recovering a library of ancient scrolls first discovered two centuries ago in the ruins of a seaside villa, destroyed in the 79 AD eruption of Mt. Vesuvius.

Brent Seales is the Gill Professor and Director of the Center for Visualization and Virtual Environments at the University of Kentucky. He is also chair of the University of Kentucky Department of Computer Science and holds his degrees from the University of Wisconsin (Ph.D. and M.S.), and the University of Southwestern Louisiana (B.S.).

Dr. Seales’ EDUCE project (Enhanced Digital Unwrapping for Conservation and Exploration) seeks to create readable images of texts such as papyrus scrolls, without opening them, using minimally invasive scanning and virtual unwrapping through software that he developed.