The Sinai Palimpsests Project: recovering erased texts in the world's oldest library
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The Sinai Palimpsests Project used spectral imaging to recover erased texts from 6,800 pages of palimpsest manuscripts at St. Catherine's Monastery of the Sinai. St. Catherine's Monastery, protected by its remote location in Egypt's Sinai desert, preserves one of the world's oldest and greatest libraries. Among its treasures are hundreds of palimpsest manuscripts, the erased layers of which have never been studied. The project recovered erased works in 11 languages that range in date from the 5th to 12th century. Alongside biblical, theological, and liturgical works, the recovered texts include 11 classical works, 8 of which are previously unattested. The project is the largest effort to date to use scientific imaging to recover obscured information from historical source materials, and was a collaboration of St. Catherine's Monastery of the Sinai (Egypt), the Early Manuscripts Electronic Library, and the UCLA Library.
The presentation will cover the imaging and image processing methods used by the project and survey its results and impacts.
Kelvin Smith Library - Freedman Center Collaboration Commons
11055 Euclid Avenue, Cleveland, OH 44106, United States
Executive Director of the Early Manuscripts Electronic Library (EMEL)
Early Manuscripts Electronic Library (EMEL)
Michael Phelps is Executive Director of the Early Manuscripts Electronic Library (EMEL). He directed the Sinai Palimpsests Project and currently directs the Sinai Library Digitization Project, a new collaboration with St. Catherine’s Monastery and UCLA to digitize the manuscripts holdings of the Holy Monastery. He has directed projects to apply spectral imaging to palimpsests and damaged manuscripts in the Austrian National Library, the Ambrosiana Library (Milan), Cambridge University Library, the Vatican Library, the Berlin State Library, the Bienecke Library of Yale University, and the Museum of the Bible.