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John Rylands Research Institute Public Lecture: Memory, Vision and Cognitio...
Thu 23 March 2017, 18:00 – 19:30 GMT
Exciting major developments in imaging technology and computer vision in the past twenty years have provided documentary historians with an unprecedented and very sophisticated tool-kit for accessing and understanding historical and linguistic information in ancient documents, which are often damaged and apparently illegible. Such technologies cannot be regarded as providing a process of ‘automated reading’. The role of the human ‘expert reader’ remains and will always remain critical for deciphering and interpreting texts and other material objects in a combination of visual perception and cognition, applied in conjunction with acquired knowledge of the subject-matter and the historical context. Drawing on a variety of ancient documents written on stone and wood and ranging in origin from Egypt and the Middle East to Hadrian’s Wall, Professor Bowman will illustrate the complex interplay between these processes and offer some broader thoughts about the ways in which new technologies are now crucial in helping to improve our understanding of the past.
Professor Alan Bowman, Vice-President (Humanities) of the British Academy, will deliver this public lecture. Professor Bowman's research interests include: Greek and Latin Papyri from Egypt under the Ptolemies and the Romans, the Greek and bilingual inscriptions of Ptolemaic Egypt, the Vindolanda Writing-tablets, the Roman economy, the use of computers and information technology for imaging and deciphering ancient documents.