CONTACT: MARY GERAGHTY
100 Old Public Library
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 384-0011; fax (319) 384-0024
USC professor to speak about computer analysis of ancient documents
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Bruce Zuckerman, a religion professor at the University
of Southern California (USC), is using computer imaging technology to examine
ancient Biblical documents in greater detail than has ever been possible
before. He will visit the University of Iowa to present a lecture Sunday,
March 8 about the window into the past that the new technology has created.
Zuckerman will discuss some of the technological advances he and his
colleagues have helped implement in both photographic and computer imaging
of the Dead Sea Scrolls. He will illustrate some of the basic problems
of decipherment caused by the deterioration of the scrolls and what may
be done to reclaim their precious data before time runs out. Part of his
discussion will include a "real time" use of computer imaging
enhancement and manipulation techniques to read these ancient texts in
ways that have never been done previously.
Zuckerman's expertise in this area comes from having served for the
last 15 years as director of the West Semitic Research Project, which aims
to develop a comprehensive photographic archive of all the major West Semitic
inscriptions. He has also been director since 1981 of the University of
Southern California Archaeological Research Collection, which comprises
several thousand ancient artifacts from Israel, Mesopotamia, Anatolia,
Egypt, Cyprus, the Greco-Roman world, and Gandhara.
Zuckerman's presentation is offered in conjunction with a year-long
photographic exhibit in the UI School of Religion celebrating the 50th
anniversary of the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls. UI religion professor
George Nickelsburg created the exhibit, "Discoveries by the Dead Sea:
The Scrolls Fifty Years Later," which is on display through May 1998
on the third floor of Gilmore Hall. In the collection of nearly 50 photos,
visitors can view the site of the discovery, learn about the people who
discovered the scrolls, and begin to understand the beliefs, practices,
frustrations, and hopes of the scrolls' authors.
The lecture, which begins at 2 p.m. in Room 106, Gilmore Hall, is free
and open to the public. For further information, contact the UI School
of Religion at (319) 335-2164.