Virtual unfolding of folded papyri

Please always quote using this URN: urn:nbn:de:0297-zib-74338
  • The historical importance of ancient manuscripts is unique since they provide information about the heritage of ancient cultures. Often texts are hidden in rolled or folded documents. Due to recent impro- vements in sensitivity and resolution, spectacular disclosures of rolled hidden texts were possible by X-ray tomography. However, revealing text on folded manuscripts is even more challenging. Manual unfolding is often too risky in view of the fragile condition of fragments, as it can lead to the total loss of the document. X-ray tomography allows for virtual unfolding and enables non-destructive access to hid- den texts. We have recently demonstrated the procedure and tested unfolding algorithms on a mockup sample. Here, we present results on unfolding ancient papyrus packages from the papyrus collection of the Musée du Louvre, among them objects folded along approximately orthogonal folding lines. In one of the packages, the first identification of a word was achieved, the Coptic word for “Lord”.

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Author:Heinz-Eberhard Mahnke, Tobias Arlt, Daniel Baum, Hans-Christian Hege, Felix Herter, Norbert Lindow, Ingo Manke, Tzulia Siopi, Eve Menei, Marc Etienne, Verena Lepper
Document Type:ZIB-Report
Date of first Publication:2019/08/09
ISSN:1438-0064