Scripta Manent

Guichard Michaël and Lejars Thierry

The collection of cuneiform tablets of Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes (EPHE) is one of the most important assyriological collections in France. It has 630 cuneiformes tablets or from Mesopotamia, not to mention around ten engraved bricks from Susa. Thanks to the very nature of clay materials (tablets, prisms, cones), the reading of these epigraphic documents is carried out in three dimensions and forces the reader to direct his light from the left in order to better understand the print of the writing. In addition, since all sides of the tablet are likely to be used and because of the d and irregularities of the object shaped by human hands and thus move as the reading progresses.

The scientific approach undertaken today is to address the issues related to the reading, conservation and dissemination of texts from cuneiform tablets through new technologies, particularly in 3D. Two important assets confirm the approach of researchers in human science at EPHE and the AOROC archaeology laboratory (UMR8546 CNRS-ENS) towards new technologies: 3D scanners are much faster with applications adapted to survey issues; the teams have acquired experience in the acquisition and processing of 3D objects data.

The digitization of these precious witnesses of history makes it possible to achieve several objectives simultaneously. The interest for their preservation is obvious because 3D makes it possible to have a very accurate and complete reproduction. Researchers always need to go back to the artifact itself to make collaborations, to check out this or that detail that would have slipped from the attention of the first editors. 3D reproductions make it less necessary to go back to the objects, with always study again the risk of damaging them a little more despite all the care taken.

The project we propose is based in particular on the experience acquired as part of the PSL Celtes 3D structuring program, led by Thierry Lejars, on the digitization of metal objects in protohistory. The purpose of which was to produce a very accurate documentation, which could be distributed via the web, but also to enable making as accurate a copy as possible.

 

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