Babylonian Collection Digital Imaging Demonstration Project: Acquisition

The obverse side of an Old Assyrian envelope fragment decorated with impressions created by a cylinder seal.
March 26, 2014

The Yale Babylonian Collection, in partnership with the Institute for the Preservation of Cultural Heritage (nee Yale Digital Collections Center (YDC2)) and the Computer Science Department, has begun a project with the aim of enhancing legibility of inscribed artifacts through digital imaging. Fourteen inscribed cuneiform tablets have been selected by the curators of the collection as subjects for scientific, analytical and technical imaging. Multiple digital imaging acquisition and processing techniques will be employed, including reflectance transformation imaging (RTI), 3D laser scanning, multispectral imaging (MSI) and high-resolution digital photography in the IPCH Digitization Lab.

This project has been planned to extend research methods and support didactic objectives associated with the Babylonian Collection, which is the largest assemblage of cuneiform tablets, seals and other inscribed artifacts documenting life in Ancient Mesopotamia in the United States. A major aim of the project is to produce and openly disseminate extensive documentation of cuneiform tablets for research applications focused on translating narratives, deciphering meaning and producing scholarship on Old Assyrian, mathematical and Late Babylonian texts. The project will be supported by the digital imaging capabilities of the IPCH Digitization Lab and the computational analysis capabilities of the Department of Computer Science (CS).