Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Using the social network to translate ancient texts

The Egypt Exploration Society and Oxford University's Ancient Lives project has launched today and it is hoping to recruit "armchair archaeologists" to look through and catalogue the images of the papyri; and transcribe the text. Visitors to the Ancient Lives website are shown an image of an extract. You can then click on a character in the image and then what you believe is the corresponding Greek character in a keyboard below. There is an option to increase the font size, see a scale diagram of the whole fragment, and change the color of the image to make it easier to view. A toggle option allows viewers to show and hide characters they have marked; and there is an auto option, which allows the system automatically move to the next character as you work.

Introducing the project, James Brusuelas, a Research Associate of Corpus Christi College, Oxford, and member of the Ancient Lives team, says:
"Many of these papyri have remained unstudied since they were discovered more than a century ago. Our goal is to increase the momentum by which scholars have traditionally identified known and unknown literary texts, and the private documents and letters that open up a window into the ancient lives of Graeco-Roman Egypt."
Via Wired

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