The written word has been used throughout history to chronicle and contemplate the human experience, but many valuable texts are “lost” to us due to damage. The words of these documents and the knowledge they seek to impart are locked behind the destruction and decay wrought by time and injury, while the physical manuscripts themselves form an “invisible library” of sorts — closeted away on dark shelves, well-protected but prevented from proffering knowledge and encouraging inquiry. For more than 20 years, Dr. Seales has been working to create and use hi-tech, non-invasive tools to rescue these lost texts from the blink of oblivion and restore them to humanity. We call this innovative process “virtual unwrapping.”
From Damage to Discovery – A Timeline of Innovation
Machine Learning Reveals Carbon Ink
From Invisibility to Readability: Recovering the Ink of Herculaneum
3D Registration to 2D Images
Herculaneum Papyrus Scrolls – PHerc. 118
Complete Virtual Unwrapping and Reading
The Scroll from En-Gedi, The Israel Antiquities Authority
Restoration Using Layers
Chinese Dynastic Texts, National Palace Museum (Taiwan)
Multi-spectral Images Across Time
The St. Chad Gospels: Diachronic Manuscript Registration and Visualization
Digital Rendering of Internal Structures
Herculaneum Scroll, Institut de France
Alignment of Page Versions
The Iliad, Marciana Library
Ecclesiastes Book Binding, The University of Michigan
Egyptian Scroll Prototype, The University of Kentucky
Digital Flattening of Warped Pages
The Cotton Collection, The British Library
2D Digitization of Burned Pages
Beowulf, The British Library
When we saw Dr. Seales' results on the scroll from En-Gedi, we almost fainted. Never in our wildest dreams did we think anything would come of it. We had been certain it was just a shot in the dark.
Come Be a Part of This Exciting Research
The Digital Restoration Initiative at the University of Kentucky is made possible through donors like you. Funding for projects is highly competitive, and gaps in funding delay progress and limit student opportunities. Your partnership will allow this cutting-edge research to continue at the University of Kentucky with UK students at the helm.
One undergraduate stipend for one year of research work.
One year of graduate student research.
One staff member’s time and travel for one project.
Total cost for one project, including staff, students, travel, and equipment rental.
A year’s worth of research work, including staff, two graduate students, limited equipment, and travel.
Development of an on-site experimental lab, including equipment acquisition.
$500,000/year for five years
A fully equipped and fully staffed Digital Restoration Initiative research lab and program.