365 E. Campus Mall, Room 200, University of Wisconsin
Madison, WI 53715
Professor Brent Seales will describe his ground-breaking research that is allowing modern scholars to access carbonized ancient texts that have been unreadable up to now. Professor Seales earned his PhD in computer science at the University of Wisconsin and is currently chair of the computer science department at the University of Kentucky.
Professor Seales has developed a software program that digitally unwraps ancient scrolls that have burned to a crisp and are otherwise unreadable. His program successfully analyzed a computerized tomography scan (CT-scan) of a 2,000-year old scroll recovered from the 1970 excavation of a burned synagogue at En Gedi, an oasis on the shore of the Dead Sea in Israel. When the scroll was finally readable, it turned out to be the biblical book of Leviticus. He is also working on virtually unrolling carbonized scrolls recovered from the Villa of the Papyri at Herculaneum, burned but not destroyed by the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in 70 A.D.