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State: Kentucky
Keywords: Herculaneum (ALL of these words -- matching substrings)

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Award Number Grant ProgramAward RecipientProject TitleAward PeriodApproved Award Total
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CHA-276882-22Challenge Programs: Infrastructure and Capacity Building Challenge GrantsUniversity of Kentucky Research FoundationThe Digital Restoration Initiative: A Cultural Heritage Imaging and Analysis Lab6/1/2021 - 5/30/2026$500,000.00WilliamBrentSeales   University of Kentucky Research FoundationLexingtonKY40506-0004USA2020Interdisciplinary Studies, GeneralInfrastructure and Capacity Building Challenge GrantsChallenge Programs05000000138305

Renovation and expansion of the facilities of the Digital Restoration Initiative (DRI), a cultural heritage imaging and analysis lab, as well as the acquisition of imaging tools and equipment. The outcomes would enable the establishment of the “Ancient Worlds Now” consortium, which is dedicated to training and researching non-invasive analysis of delicate materials that hitherto have eluded research.

Advancing technologies now make it possible to image some of the world’s most fragile heritage items without inflicting harm, providing scholarly access to rich visual representations for study. Unfortunately, no facility exists specifically for the non-invasive imaging of friable objects or for investigating new technical approaches to the unique challenges they pose. The Digital Restoration Initiative (DRI), led by Professor Brent Seales at the University of Kentucky, seeks funding to fill this gap by creating a highly specialized, object-centered digital humanities laboratory focused on the non-destructive imaging and “virtual unwrapping” of damaged manuscripts and other delicate heritage objects, such as scrolls from Herculaneum.

HAA-263850-19Digital Humanities: Digital Humanities Advancement GrantsUniversity of Kentucky Research FoundationReading the Invisible Library: Rescuing the Hidden Texts of Herculaneum1/1/2019 - 12/31/2022$500,000.00WilliamBrentSeales   University of Kentucky Research FoundationLexingtonKY40506-0004USA2018ClassicsDigital Humanities Advancement GrantsDigital Humanities45000050000449977.5650000

The continued development of computerized techniques to recover writings from the Herculaneum library, the entire collections of which were destroyed by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 BCE.

Using authentic materials from national libraries in Italy and France, this project will apply proven computerized techniques and innovate new approaches to reveal the hidden writing in the most iconic collection of damaged humanities manuscripts--the scrolls from Herculaneum. During this phase of the project, key goals are to develop and analyze a new method for recovering and enhancing ink signals from within scrolls and manuscripts, and to develop new machine-learning (AI) techniques to render those signals into visible text.