Another Neat Thing They’re Doing

Scholars are using computers “to help reassemble more than 100,000 document fragments collected across 1,000 years that reveal details of Jewish life along the Mediterranean” — a task that previously had to be done by eye and hand.

A lot of the documents retrieved so far deal with the minutiae of daily life:  contracts and sales records and legal documents and even recipes.  For a historian, and even more for writers who are trying to recreate history for their readers, such details are golden, worth far more, sometimes, than the word about who defeated whom on the battlefield, and where.

(I’d be particularly interested to know the ingredients and techniques involved in what the article describes as a “particularly vile” recipe for honey-wine.  Purely as a matter of academic curiosity, you understand.)


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