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Research Topics

The famous Atrahasis Epic is a Babylonian creation story that includes an account of a flood and a man being saved in a boat. The most complete copy is recorded in cuneiform script on Ipiq-Aya's Tablet III. Two fragments of this account, housed in two different museums, have long been thought to come from the same tablet. With the larger fragment in the British Museum and the smaller fragment in a museum in Geneva, there seemed to be no way to get the two tablets in the same room to study together. Now, thanks to new technology, it has been confirmed that both fragments do indeed come from the same tablet. Researchers recently took 150 photographs of each tablet from various angles and created a detailed, digital 3-D model of each. This allowed the researchers to virtually study the terrain of each fragment, matching valleys and peaks on the joint of one tablet, with the corresponding ones on the other. Using a virtual reconstruction algorithm, a near-perfect match was made between the two surfaces, confirming that they were once part of the same tablet. It is the first time this technology has been used to virtually reconstruct a cuneiform tablet over a long distance.

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