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Science Technology

Computer Reveals Stone Tablet "Handwriting" 42

ewenc writes "A computer technique can tell the difference between ancient Greek inscriptions created by different artisans, a feat that ordinarily consumes years of human scholarship, reports New Scientist. A team of Greek computer scientists created the program after a scholar challenged them to attribute 24 inscriptions to their rightful cutter. The researchers scanned the tablets and constructed an average shape for several Greek letters in every tablet. After comparing the average letters between different tablets, they correctly attributed the inscriptions to six stone-cutters."
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Computer Reveals Stone Tablet "Handwriting"

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  • by mbone ( 558574 ) on Thursday July 02, 2009 @02:46PM (#28561857)

    From TFA : "Panagopoulos says his team is looking to use 3D images in the future."

    So, not yet.

  • by Fallen Kell ( 165468 ) on Thursday July 02, 2009 @03:26PM (#28562621)
    Not really. Once you know you have a good training set (i.e. example work that has been verified and attributed to a particular artisan by being signed, or otherwise documented (like how we know which architects designed certain pyramids in Egypt)), that training set could be used to train the computer to look for other works that match the training set. This is no different than what the current experts are doing now to attribute the works to individuals, the difference is that a computer program has been designed to do the analysis, and it worked on the first sample set given to it. I would say that you need to test a few more samples, but the fact that it was correct on all the samples given so far is a good sign.
  • by rlseaman ( 1420667 ) on Thursday July 02, 2009 @03:42PM (#28562945)

    Bringing it slightly back On Topic, this has nothing to do with translation of already readable stone inscriptions.

    Rather absurd to claim the original post in this thread was off topic. The article is about improving traffic analysis for ancient texts. An expert in ancient texts can't say, "Yay!", as a result?

    Its about determining which hammer and chisel jockey was involved in translating the "written on paper" to the "carved in stone". This is akin to determining if Margret typed your manuscript or if it was Walter.

    Exactly. And if Walter lived in 1870 and Margret in 1970, that would tell you a lot about the possible authorship of the document.

    Nothing at all about recovering last works or determining if you have risen to the status of a classic author.

    Experts in classics use all the same techniques of forensics and just plain logic as anybody else. In particular, they must assemble coherent texts from separate sources. This will help produce a self-consistent corpus. It is a prerequisite to all higher levels of scholarship.

God doesn't play dice. -- Albert Einstein