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Image to InterpretationAn Intelligent System to Aid Historians in Reading the Vindolanda Texts$
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Melissa Terras

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780199204557

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199204557.001.0001

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The Palaeography of Vindolanda

The Palaeography of Vindolanda

Chapter:
(p.84) 3 The Palaeography of Vindolanda
Source:
Image to Interpretation
Author(s):

Melissa M. Terras (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199204557.003.0003

This chapter focuses on the methodologies used to collate data sets needed to train a system to read unknown characters contained within the stylus tablets. The Vindolanda ink texts are the major significant body of contemporaneous documents to the stylus tablets, and it is demonstrated that the stylus tablets should contain similar Old Roman Cursive character forms. The construction of a corpus of annotated images, based on the ink tablet letter forms, and the gathering of linguistic information from the Vindolanda ink texts that have already been read provided the information needed to train the system. Techniques included knowledge elicitation exercises with experts to gain an understanding of the types of information used to describe and identify ORC character forms; the construction of an encoding scheme; and the adoption and adaptation of an image markup tool to enable the annotation of images of the Vindolanda texts, producing textual descriptions of the letter forms in Extensible Markup Language (XML). This resulted in a corpus of 1700 individual ORC characters. Additional linguistic analysis of the Vindolanda ink texts provided lexicostatistics (word lists, word frequency, and letter frequency) regarding the language used at Vindolanda.

Keywords:   palaeography, letter forms, Old Roman cursive, image markup, XML

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