Gregory Heyworth: How I'm discovering the secrets of ancient texts
Gregory Heyworth - Textual scientist
Gregory Heyworth uses spectral imaging technology to uncover lost classics that could rewrite history. Full bio
entered the ancient city of Timbuktu
of 30,000 manuscripts
and several African languages
to geography, history to medicine,
for male erectile dysfunction.
of an entire continent,
was thought not to have a voice at all.
who witnessed the event,
for the fact that he was also lying.
a random assortment of old books
for the terrorists to burn.
lies hidden in Bamako,
corners of the world,
or even the main places
the history of world culture
a survey of European research libraries
at the barest minimum,
because of water damage,
and modern manuscripts
objects such as maps.
these lost and unknown works?
how a trove of hundreds of thousands
our knowledge of the past.
we would discover
of literature, history,
rewrite our cultural identities,
between people and culture.
that transformed me
a reader of texts,
images of passivity,
a participant in the past,
and teaching for hundreds of years --
that I published
in ever-diminishing slivers of insight.
but I wanted it for my students as well.
I changed the direction of my career.
on "The Chess of Love,"
of the European Middle Ages
it existed in only one manuscript
during the firebombing of Dresden
had pronounced it lost.
with an ultraviolet lamp
as technology at the time
to recover two lost treatises
which has been erased and overwritten.
to the lead imaging scientist
he actually wrote back.
to win a grant from the US government
multispectral imaging lab,
what was a charred and faded mess
imaging actually work?
behind multispectral imaging
with infrared night vision goggles
in the visible spectrum of light
of what's actually there.
onto the manuscript from above
the individual leaves of the manuscript.
per leaf are imaged this way
equipped with a lens
of these in the world.
designed for satellite images
like geospatial scientists
of what's been done
to read even the darkest corners
that are in jeopardy.
is a leaf from a manuscript
Christian Bible in the world.
translation of the Gospels into Latin,
of the fourth century.
of the foundation of Christendom
of the Council of Nicaea,
was being agreed upon.
has been very badly damaged,
that you see in the upper left hand corner
to make the first transcription
to collections where it's needed, however,
processing skills are esoteric.
and all but the wealthiest institutions.
to individual researchers
at little or no cost whatsoever.
scholars and students
most valuable damaged manuscripts,
which is the oldest book of English,
the oldest book of Welsh,
the former Soviet Georgia.
can recover lost texts.
a second story behind every object,
and by whom a text was created,
was thinking at the time he wrote.
of the Declaration of Independence
imaged a few years ago
that one word throughout
what the word underneath was.
is American democracy
of Thomas Jefferson.
at Yale's Beinecke Library.
that Columbus likely consulted
of what Asia looked like
is that its inks and pigments
detailed idea, that is,
was entirely illegible under normal light.
with ears so long
the creature's entire body.
who could cause the ground to smoke.
looked in the distant past,
to the first stuttering moments
the mistakes, the changes of mind,
and their authors
with the skills to rescue it
this new hybrid discipline
of a literary scholar --
and old handwriting,
to place and date them --
at a famous library in Rome.
began to appear from behind the text.
in well over a thousand years
had been pronounced aloud.
that is the future of the past.
About the speaker:Gregory Heyworth - Textual scientist
Gregory Heyworth uses spectral imaging technology to uncover lost classics that could rewrite history.
Why you should listen
Gregory Heyworth is associate professor of English at the University of Mississippi. He is a medievalist and founder of the discipline of textual science.
Professor Heyworth directs the Lazarus Project, a not-for-profit initiative to restore damaged and illegible cultural heritage objects, especially manuscripts and maps, using spectral imaging technology. He has helped recover numerous important objects including the Vercelli Book and the 1491 Martellus Map.
Currently he is working on a project to recover the manuscript fragments of the lost Cathedral Library of Chartres, France, bombed in WWII.
Gregory Heyworth | Speaker | TED.com