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Image to InterpretationAn Intelligent System to Aid Historians in Reading the Vindolanda Texts$
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Melissa Terras

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780199204557

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199204557.001.0001

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(p.1) 1 Introduction
Image to Interpretation

Melissa M. Terras (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

The texts from the Roman fort of Vindolanda are an unparalleled source of information regarding the Roman army for historians, linguists, palaeographers, and archaeologists. However, due to their physical state, the stylus tablets have proved almost impossible to read. This chapter provides an introduction to Vindolanda and the ink and stylus texts discovered there, and discusses developments in image processing that have allowed feature detection of the stylus tablets. An overview is given regarding this attempt to construct a computer system to aid the papyrologists in the reading of the stylus texts, the use of computing in the field of papyrology, and the use of Minimum Description Length (MDL) as a means to compare and contrast complex information within the field of image processing. An MDL based system, GRAVA, is introduced, which provides the architecture to generate possible interpretations of the text contained within images of the Vindolanda tablets.

Keywords:   Roman fort, papyrology, artificial intelligence, Minimum Description Length, image processing, palaeography

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