May 16, 2022

Report: “AI Can Help Historians Restore Ancient Texts From Damaged Inscriptions”

From New Scientist:

An artificial intelligence algorithm developed as part of a collaboration between historians and UK-based AI firm DeepMind can help restore ancient Greek texts with 72 per cent accuracy.

The AI can also predict where in the ancient Mediterranean world the texts were originally written with more than 70 per cent accuracy and date them to within a few decades of their agreed-upon date of creation. All of this marks an improvement upon an earlier version of the AI that could only restore ancient texts.

Image Source: Wikimedia via DeepMind


Sommerschield and her colleagues worked with researchers at DeepMind to get the machine-learning AI – called Ithaca after a Greek island that is famous for being the home of the legendary figure Odysseus – to carry out all three tasks.

To train Ithaca, the team used around 60,000 ancient Greek texts from across the Mediterranean that are already well-studied and known to have been written between 700 BC and AD 500. The team masked some of the characters in the texts and then compared Ithaca’s predictions for this “missing” text with the actual inscriptions.

Learn More, Read the Complete Article

See Also: Interactive Version of Ithaca

See Also: Predicting the Past with Ithaca (via DeepMind)

See Also: Restoring and attributing ancient texts using deep neural networks


About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.