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New Scanning System Identifies Illegible Names On Old Gravestones

Date:
October 4, 2007
Source:
Carnegie Mellon University
Summary:
Indiana Jones, step aside. Carnegie Mellon University's Yang Cai is developing new technology that could revolutionize the way archaeologists work. Cai is developing new software to scan 200-year-old gravestones at Old St. Luke's Church in nearby Carnegie to help its Episcopal pastor identify all the names on the cemetery's tombstones.

The research team trekked through the church's three-acre cemetery, scanning unreadable gravestones and then storing the images on laptops.
Credit: Image courtesy of Carnegie Mellon University

Indiana Jones, step aside. Carnegie Mellon University's Yang Cai is developing new technology that could revolutionize the way archaeologists work. Cai, director of the Ambient Intelligence Lab at Carnegie Mellon CyLab, is developing new software to scan 200-year-old gravestones at Old St. Luke's Church in nearby Carnegie to help its Episcopal pastor identify all the names on the cemetery's tombstones.

"We are very excited and pleased that Professor Cai and his research team are helping us reclaim our past by identifying some of the 20 graves at our cemetery," said Rev. Richard Davis, director of Old St. Luke's Church at 330 Old Washington Pike.

The church, established in 1765 as a stockade church for British soldiers, is operated as a special events building for weddings, book reviews and special holiday services, according to Davis.

During the past two weeks, Cai's research team trekked through the church's three-acre cemetery, scanning unreadable gravestones and then storing the images on laptops.

"We are exploring new 3-D reconstruction technology to decipher the gravestone names," said Cai. "Essentially, we reconstruct the tombstone surfaces by applying filtering and detection algorithms for revealing the words on the archaic surfaces," he said.

In addition to discovering who is buried in the church cemetery, Cai is developing a digital cemetery for Old St. Luke's Church.

"Our goal is to take the guess work out of archeology and make this reconstruction technology available for a variety of other industry sectors, such as the security and medical fields," said Cai.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Carnegie Mellon University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Carnegie Mellon University. "New Scanning System Identifies Illegible Names On Old Gravestones." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 4 October 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/09/070928160803.htm>.
Carnegie Mellon University. (2007, October 4). New Scanning System Identifies Illegible Names On Old Gravestones. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/09/070928160803.htm
Carnegie Mellon University. "New Scanning System Identifies Illegible Names On Old Gravestones." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/09/070928160803.htm (accessed September 20, 2014).

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