Iraq’s ancient tablets to get new, virtual life

From Iraq’s Ancient Tablets to Get New, Virtual Life.

A technology normally used in reconstructive surgery to create prosthetic limbs is now being applied to create reproductions of Iraq’s precious and fragile cuneiform clay tablets, according to an Italian team of researchers.

Thousands and thousands of artifacts were stolen and broken at Bagdad’s museums following the invasion of Iraq in 2003, in what has been called the most catastrophic theft of antiquities since World War II.

Among the lost items are the fragile tablets, which are some of the earliest known written documents. The tablets were invented as early as 5,000 years ago by the Sumerians who impressed the writings in clay. The clay then hardened quickly in the hot and dry climate of Mesopotamia, an area near modern Iraq.

Now scientists want to help preserve what is left of the vulnerable Iraqi cultural heritage. Sponsored by the Italian ministry of Foreign Affairs, the innovative project to digitally recreate the tablets was conceived by [continue]