Saturday, February 29, 2020

Thursday, February 27, 2020

Neo-Paleography: Analysing Ancient Handwritings in the Digital Age

Isabelle Marthot-Santaniello has posted videos with slides and audio for each of the presentations at the recent conference Neo-Paleography: Analysing Ancient Handwritings in the Digital Age (Basel, 27-29 January 2020). This is a great resource for understanding the current state of digital paleographic tools, especially for Hebrew, Greek, Coptic, and Latin scripts. See below the full conference program.


Monday 27 January

14:15Nachum Dershowitz, Adiel Ben-Shalom in abs., Lior Wolf in abs. (Tel Aviv): Computerized Paleography: Tools for Historical Manuscripts
14:45Mladen Popović, Lambert Schomaker, Maruf Dhali (Groningen): Digital Palaeography of the Dead Sea Scrolls for Dating Undated Manuscripts
15:15 Gemma Hayes, Maruf Dhali (Groningen): Identifying Dead Sea Scribes: A Digital Palaeographic Approach
15:45 Discussion
16:00 Coffee break
16:30Vinodh Rajan Sampath (Hamburg): Script Analyzer: A Tool for Quantitative Paleography
17:00Timo Korkiakangas (Helsinki): Quantifying Medieval Latin handwriting with Script Analyzer
17:30Elena Nieddu, Serena Ammirati in abs. (Roma): IN CODICE RATIO: a gateway to paleographical thesauri
18:30Buffet in Dep. Altertumswissenschaften (for the speakers)

Tuesday 28 January

9:00Peter Stokes (Paris): (Still) Describing Handwriting: With Archetype and Beyond
9:30Simona Stoyanova (Nottingham): The Python in the letterbox – epigraphic palaeography with Archetype
10:00Lorenzo Sardone (San Marino): For a Palaeography of Demosthenic Papyri
10:45Coffee break
11:00Yasmine Amory (Ghent): More than a simple intuition. Towards a categorisation of palaeographical features 
11:30Loreleï Vanderheyden (Heidelberg): How to unmask a digraph scribe? Apollos’ Greek and Coptic styles in the Aphrodito Byzantine Archive
14:00Anne Boud’hors (Paris): Identifying hands and styles in the Coptic papyri from Edfu (Papas' archive)
14:30Esther Garel (Strasbourg): The Fayyumic Coptic Documentary Papyri: Issues of Palaeography, Formats and Dating
15:00Christian Askeland (Cambridge): On the History of the Alexandrian Majuscule
15:45Coffee break
16:00Katharina Schröder (Münster): Searching for Relatives: Palaeographical Analysis of Coptic New Testament Manuscripts in the Institute for New Testament Textual Research Münster 
16:30Alin Suciu, Ulrich Schmid in abs. (Göttingen): Digital Support for a Paleographical Assessment of the White Monastery Manuscripts
19:00Dinner (for the speakers)

Wednesday 29 January

9:00Marie Beurton-Aimar, Cecilia Ostertag in abs. (Bordeaux): Re-assembly Egyptian potteries with handwritten texts
9:30Vincent Christlein (Nuremberg): Writer identification in historical document images 
10:00Imran Siddiqi (Islamabad): Dating of Historical Manuscripts using Image Analysis & Deep Learning Techniques 
10:45Coffee break
11:00Tanmoy Mondal (Montpellier): Efficient technique for Binarization, Noise Cleaning and Convolutional Neural Network Based Writer Identification for Papyri Manuscripts
11:30Andreas Fischer (Fribourg): Recent Advances in Graph-Based Keyword Spotting for Supporting Quantitative Paleography
12:30Coffee break
14:00Vlad Atanasiu, Peter Fornaro (Basel): On the utility of color in computational paleography
Visit of the Digital Humanities Lab and the papyrus collection in the University Library

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Dhali et al. 2020 - Feature-extraction methods for historical manuscript dating based on writing style development

Maruf Dhali et al. from the Groningen ERC team just published a paper on the use of digital feature-extraction methods for dating Dead Sea Scrolls.

Maruf A. Dhali et al., Feature-Extraction Methods for Historical Manuscript Dating Based on Writing Style Development, Pattern Recognition Letters 131 (2020): 41320.


Proposes feature-extraction techniques for dating of the Dead Sea Scrolls (DSS).
A grapheme-based method with a self-organized time map outperforms textural methods.
A codebook size of 225 performs the best with a Mean Absolute Error (MAE) of 23.4 years.
Cumulative Score (α = 25) improves with an increase in the sub-codebook size.
The result is positioned as a basic benchmark for further work on dating for the DSS.


Paleographers and philologists perform significant research in finding the dates of ancient manuscripts to understand the historical contexts. To estimate these dates, the traditional process of using classical paleography is subjective, tedious, and often time-consuming. An automatic system based on pattern recognition techniques that infers these dates would be a valuable tool for scholars. In this study, the development of handwriting styles over time in the Dead Sea Scrolls, a collection of ancient manuscripts, is used to create a model that predicts the date of a query manuscript. In order to extract the handwriting styles, several dedicated feature-extraction techniques have been explored. Additionally, a self-organizing time map is used as a codebook. Support vector regression is used to estimate a date based on the feature vector of a manuscript. The date estimation from grapheme-based technique outperforms other feature-extraction techniques in identifying the chronological style development of handwriting in this study of the Dead Sea Scrolls.