2011: New Visualization Techniques for Cuneiform Texts and Sealings

Hendrik Hameeuw and Geert Willems 2011_New Visualization Techniques for Cuneiform Texts and Sealings_Akkadica 132-2

This contribution presents insights into the ongoing evolution of new visualization techniques relevant for the fields of archaeology and, particularly, Assyriology. We focus on systems and methods facilitating the reading of texts and sealings impressed on clay tablets. Making high resolution 3D models of archaeological objects seems an attractive and fulfilling solution, but in most cases the acquisition of these models is complex and their manipulation is demanding for both computer and researcher. Research groups across the world are working on these issues. In the presented survey, special attention goes to the results developed by Ancient Near Eastern scholars and engineers of Leuven University – Belgium, who built a Portable Light Dome related to the PTM-technology, which supplies scholars with so-called 2D+ images of digitally recorded objects. These virtual artifacts allow a detailed dynamic study of a wide variety of archaeological finds. For the field of cuneiform studies, the outcome is revolutionizing the approach how in a combined way the tablet, the text or any other kind of impressions on its surface can be visualized all together. The new visualization techniques present themselves as excellent digital safeguards and have proven to be high quality aids when used during a study process as well as for consultation after publication.