Saturday, July 29, 2017

Crowdsourcing Chinese epigraphy

AN ARMY OF EPIGRAPHERS: A Chinese Museum Is Offering Big Money to Whomever Can Decode This Ancient Script. The going rate is $15,000 per character (MICHAEL WATERS, Atlas Obscura).
IT’S NOT BOUNTY HUNTING, BUT it’s close: The National Museum of Chinese Writing in Anyang, Henan Province is offering a large monetary reward to anyone who can decode a 3,000-year-old script. The writing, which dates to the ancient Shang dynasty, is one of the “earliest written records of Chin­ese civilization,” according to the South China Morning Post.

No, this has nothing to do with ancient Judaism. I mention it because its another example of a project that only became possible in the internet era, when photos of hundreds of thousands of partially deciphered inscribed objects could be made public for next to nothing.

PaleoJudaica has been following the similar Ancient Lives Project, in which an army of papyrologists is working on deciphering the many thousands of fragmentary Oxyrhynchus papyri. Only in this case they are doing it for free. For background, start here and follow the links. Cross-file under Technology Watch.

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