Imaging Roman Stilus Tablets

Project Description:

The Imaging Roman Stilus Tablets project examined ways to aid the transcription and interpretation of ancient documents. This project is a collaboration with Engineering Science and focused on the Vindolanda writing tablets, excavated from the Roman fort at Vindolanda in northern England. The aim was to apply medical image processing techniques to the study of ancient writing tablets. In addition to an exceptional quantity of well-preserved ink writing-tablets, Vindolanda has also produced a large number of stilus tablets; the 46 examples discovered in the 1990s bring the total to around 200, of which many have visible remains of writing. There are, of course, a few which are relatively straightforward to read (particularly the addresses on the back), but the majority of tablets from Vindolanda and in museums and collections elsewhere remain intractable and unread. This project successfully applied imaging techniques to product enhanced images which eliminated the effects of wood grain and casual damage to the texts to enable them to be read more easily.