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The Centre for the scholarly study of Ancient Documents

lundi, septembre 2nd, 2019

The Centre for the scholarly study of Ancient Documents

A short walk from the Ashmolean, the Centre for the Study of Ancient Documents (CSAD) is making waves from the Ioannou Centre for Classical and Byzantine Studies on St Giles’. The interview has been put up for more information about new imaging technology that is getting used to show previously illegible ancient inscriptions.

I’m here to satisfy Dr Jane Massйglia, an Oxford alumna, former secondary teacher and now research fellow for AshLI (the Ashmolean Latin Inscription Project). Jane works to encourage general public engagement with translating these ancient documents. There are lots of nice samples of this: calling out on Twitter when it comes to interested public to have a stab at translating these inscriptions that are ancient.

The second person I’m meeting today is Ben Altshuler, ‘our amazing RTI whizzkid.’ RTI, or Reflectance Transformation Imaging, may be the software used to decipher inscriptions that are previously impenetrable. Ben Altshuler, 20, happens to be working with CSAD on his gap year before starting a Classics degree at Harvard later this year.

What is the remit of CSAD and just how achieved it turned out to be?

‘The centre started about twenty years ago,’ Jane tells me. ‘It was created away from several projects that are big original texts such as the Vindolanda tablets (a Roman site in northern England which has yielded the oldest surviving handwritten documents in Britain). There was suddenly a need to accommodate various different projects in Classics looking at primary source material, and a sense it was better joined up together. (suite…)