The reconstruction of virtual cuneiform fragments in an online environment

Lewis, Andrew William (2016). The reconstruction of virtual cuneiform fragments in an online environment. University of Birmingham. Ph.D.

PDF - Redacted Version

Download (7MB)


Reducing the time spent by experts on the process of cuneiform fragment reconstruction means that more time can be spent on the translation and interpretation of the information that the cuneiform fragments contain. Modern computers and ancillary technologies such as 3D printing have the power to simplify the process of cuneiform reconstruction, and open up the field of reconstruction to non-experts through the use of virtual fragments and new reconstruction methods. In order for computers to be effective in this context, it is important to understand the current state of available technology, and to understand the behaviours and strategies of individuals attempting to reconstruct cuneiform fragments.

This thesis presents the results of experiments to determine the behaviours and actions of participants reconstructing cuneiform tablets in the real and virtual world, and then assesses tools developed specifically to facilitate the virtual reconstruction process. The thesis also explores the contemporary and historical state of relevant technologies. The results of experiments show several interesting behaviours and strategies that participants use when reconstructing cuneiform fragments. The experiments include an analysis of the ratio between rotation and movement that show a significant difference between the actions of successful and unsuccessful participants, and an unexpected behaviour that the majority of participants adopted to work with the largest fragments first. It was also observed that the areas of the virtual workspace used by successful participants was different from the areas used by unsuccessful participants. The work further contributes to the field of reconstruction through the development of appropriate tools that have been experimentally proved to dramatically increase the number of potential joins that an individual is able to make over period of time.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Arts & Law
School or Department: School of History and Cultures, Ironbridge International Institute for Cultural Heritage (IIICH)
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: A General Works > AM Museums (General). Collectors and collecting (General)
C Auxiliary Sciences of History > CD Diplomatics. Archives. Seals > CD921 Archives
C Auxiliary Sciences of History > CN Inscriptions. Epigraphy.
Q Science > QA Mathematics > QA75 Electronic computers. Computer science


Request a Correction Request a Correction
View Item View Item


Downloads per month over past year