AI deciphers 2,000-year-old ancient scroll

AI deciphers 2,000-year-old ancient scroll

Updated 7th Feb '24

Advancements in Deciphering Ancient Scrolls Using AI

In recent years, there have been significant advancements in deciphering ancient scrolls using artificial intelligence (AI). These breakthroughs have the potential to unlock valuable knowledge about the ancient world and provide insights into various aspects of history, culture, and philosophy. Let's explore some key findings in this field.

1. Deciphering a 2,000-Year-Old Papyrus Scroll

A team of three students made headlines when they won $700,000 for using AI to decipher a 2,000-year-old papyrus scroll from the Herculaneum papyri collection. The scroll, which was carbonized by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius, could not be physically unrolled. However, the team utilized machine learning algorithms to decipher Greek letters from the scroll. This breakthrough revealed passages that explore pleasure philosophically[^1].

2. Deciphering a Hidden Text in an Ancient Roman Scroll

Another computer science student at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln used AI to decipher a hidden text within a badly charred ancient Roman scroll. The deciphered text, unrelated to the scrolls, appeared to be a collection of scripts and code snippets for website performance analysis and data collection. This discovery has raised hopes of deciphering more passages from the scrolls and uncovering additional hidden knowledge[^2].

3. The Vesuvius Challenge

In 2023, the Vesuvius Challenge was launched, offering a $1 million prize to anyone who could use AI to decipher papyrus scrolls carbonized by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD. The challenge aimed to rediscover lost works from antiquity and further advance the field of AI-assisted decipherment[^3].

These advancements in using AI to decipher ancient scrolls hold great promise for uncovering lost knowledge and shedding light on the ancient world. By leveraging machine learning algorithms and other AI techniques, researchers are making significant strides in deciphering previously unreadable texts. These breakthroughs have the potential to revolutionize our understanding of history, culture, and philosophy.

References: [^1]: Smithsonian Magazine [^2]: Ars Technica [^3]: The Economist