Badly damaged manuscripts sit in archives throughout the world, collecting dust while their valuable contents remain locked away by their wrecked conditions. The Digital Restoration Initiative reveals the text hidden in these ancient treasures using "virtual unwrapping." This breakthrough technology pushes a digital image of an unreadable manuscript through a step-by-step, computerized process and recreates a flattened, digital page that can be read and analyzed. From the inner wraps of burned Biblical scrolls to the fused, buckled pages of disintegrating books, the world's vast invisible library is finally being made visible in a completely non-invasive, damage-free way.
Virtual unwrapping was invented by Department of Computer Science Professor and Chair Dr. William Brent Seales and his team of students. In 2015, he and his team digitally unfurled the scroll from En-Gedi, revealing it to be the book of Leviticus. It is the oldest Hebrew Bible ever found after the Dead Sea scrolls and the only one ever uncovered in an ancient Jewish synagogue.
Dr. Seales has been teaching at UK since 1991. Gifts to this fund provide student stipends for research positions and cover the expenses of access to and digital acquisition of source materials.
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