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The natural world. Looking pretty for 3.5b years.

A Life in Translation

A Life in Translation

Author: Hugh Bollinger/Monday, March 26, 2018/Categories: video, art and design, adventure

                           Gregory Heyworth Ancient Text Translation Lab (credit: University of Mississippi)

Knowledge can passed down orally, visually, or by the written word. It can be easily lost to history when not translated or shared and "book burning" has a long and sad tradition during conflicts and invasions. The Library of Alexandria was destroyed over multiple invasions of the city and perhaps represented the greatest loss of information from Greco-Roman times that existed. However, its loss was ot the only case of lost knowledge from the ancient world.

Can new technological developments help recover ancient knowledge that survives? That's the life's work of translators like Gregory Heyworth as fragments of ancient texts are rediscovered. Heyworth directs The Lazarus Project at the University of Mississippi, a digital imaging project where unreadable papyri fragments, faded documents, and texts are restored.

Additionally, efforts are underway England's Oxford University to translate ancient documents discovered in a desert waste dump and covered by sand for nearly 2000 years near the Egyptian city of Oxyrhynchus. Called the Oxyrhynchus Project, after the city where they were discoverd in the late 19th Century. The trove of ancient documents had been protected by the hyper-dry desert conditions and exist as fragments of ancient papyri (scrolls). Thousands of fragments were discovered, retrieved, and now made available for translating via a crowd-sourced project.

Who knows? It is a big job but perhaps lost pieces of Greek literature including lost chapters from Homer, Herodotus, or other information on the ancient world will begin appearing from the fragments.



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