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Amy Rebecca Gansell
St. John's University, New York (Queens, NY 11439-9000)
Identifying Regional Design Templates of Ancient Near Eastern Ivory Sculptures of Women Using Computer Technology

Development of pattern-recognition software that will be tested against ancient Near Eastern ivory sculptures of women.

Our project, the collaboration of an art historian and a mathematician, offers a solution to the regional classification of ancient Near Eastern ivory sculptures of women through cutting-edge machine-learning data analysis techniques. Machine learning is a computer science sub-field that uses algorithms to teach the computer to recognize significant patterns in data. In this project, the patterns we seek are the design templates underlying the production of the sculptures. In addition to solving classification problems, our results might be interpreted to reflect ancient ideals of feminine beauty. And, in the long-term, it is anticipated that our output may serve as a screening tool in forgery identification and could also aid in the physical or digital reconstruction of hundreds of fragmentary and damaged ivory sculptures presently inaccessible in Iraq.

[White paper][Grant products]

Project fields:
Art History and Criticism

Digital Humanities Start-Up Grants

Digital Humanities

$50,000 (approved)
$50,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
4/1/2009 – 10/31/2011