Robert KALASEK1 / Hubert MARA2 / Hans TAEUBER3

(1Vienna University of Technology, Department für Raumentwicklung, Infrastruktur- und Umweltplanung, Fachbereich Stadt- und Regionalforschung / 2Vienna University of Technology, Institute of Computer Aided Automation, Pattern Recognition and Image Processing Group / 3Universiät Wien, Institut für Alte Geschichte und Altertumskunde, Papyrologie und Epigraphik)

Inscriptions are an important source for development of laws and other state matters. The newest finding of the Artemision in Ephesos, Turkey shows such changes of law for people returning from exile and how to manage their liabilities. This new finding with new important content dates to the 3rd century B.C: and belongs to a well-known series of four relating stone plates with inscriptions. Unfortunately it is impossible for the human eye to read vast parts of the text due to heavy weathering, while experiments using new technologies can turn this situation.
Preliminary experiments with the objective “eyes” of 3D-acquisition show remainders of the inscription, while post-processing methods well-known from Geographical Information Systems (GIS) and pattern recognition methods like Optical Character Recognition (OCR) should be able to transform the 3D-data into human readable text.
As well as GIS and OCR are known there exists little to no combined methods for processing writings with a 3rd dimension. In this paper we present the adoption and combination of Geomorphology and OCR for application to ancient inscriptions. This (first) combination of methods has been chosen due to successful application in previous projects. Results are shown for real and synthetic 3D-data.
A summary on contact-free and radiation free 3D-acqisition based on light are enabling a high-resolution (<0.1mm) documentation of findings is given. Finally we will show future possibilities to proceed beyond recognition of the content of the text itself and the adoption of further (well-known) methods of GIS and pattern recognition.