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The John Rylands Research Institute

The Institute welcomes Professor Alan Bowman as Visiting Professor

6 February 2017

Professor Alan Bowman Vice-President (Humanities) of the British Academy to be Institute Visiting Professor in March 2017

The Institute is delighted to welcome Professor Alan Bowman, Vice President (Humanities), of the British Academy and distinguished Papyrologist, as Visiting Professor in March 2017. On 23 March Professor Bowman will give a public lecture entitled: 'Memory, Vision and Cognition: Deciphering Ancient Documents in the Digital Age'. 

Exciting major developments in imaging technology and computer vision in the past twenty years have provided documentary historians with an unprecedented and very sophisticated tool-kit for accessing and understanding historical and linguistic information in ancient documents, which are often damaged and apparently illegible.  Such technologies cannot be regarded as providing a process of ‘automated reading’.  The role of the human ‘expert reader’ remains - and will always remain - critical for deciphering and interpreting texts and other material objects in a combination of visual perception and cognition, applied in conjunction with acquired knowledge of the subject-matter and the historical context.  Drawing on a variety of ancient documents written on stone and wood and ranging in origin from Egypt and the Middle East to Hadrian’s Wall, Professor Bowman will illustrate the complex interplay between these processes and offer some broader thoughts about the ways in which new technologies are now crucial in helping to improve our understanding of the past.

Book online.

On 24 March Professor Bowman will give a Master Class for University students entitled: 'The Devil and the Detail: emending readings, changing meanings'


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