The project has four aims that are firmly interconnected. First, I will develop a workflow for producing machine-readablehieroglyphic texts. In order to use digital methods for studying texts, the texts must be machine-readable. Machine-readable texts are searchable and can be studied for statistical regularities of words, characters, or phrases. They can also be used for training digital methods, such as optical character recognition (OCR). Computer-assisted transliteration of hieroglyphic texts will speed up the process of producing texts for digital methods. I will devise a method for automatic transliteration of hieroglyphic texts. First the texts must be encoded so that a computer can read them. As there is no working method for automatic character recognition, the encoding is done manually. Then the encoded text will be transliterated with a method developed in the project. Such a method will give a preliminary version of the transliteration which could already be used, for example, in indexing digital archives of texts. As automatic methods always make mistakes, I will design and implement an application where the texts can be examined and, when necessary, corrected before publishing the interpretations.
Second, in order to test the workflow and to increase the still small number of openly available machine-readable texts, I will semi-automatically transliterate the texts I used for the study of my PhD thesis on feasts celebrated at the workmen’s village of Deir el-Medina. I will annotate the transliterated texts with metadata and release them openly for others to use with digital or traditional methods.
Third, I will publish the dataset on feasts for free download. In Egyptology, the results of a study are generally published in a book or an article, where the data should be deducible from the narrative but is not structured so that it could easily be used for further research. My own dissertation was constructed in such a manner. As part of this project, I will publish the datasets I collected to spreadsheets while studying the feasts at Deir el-Medina. The datasets contain information on each mention of a feast, free day, and working day in the source material. The datasets will be released as the original spreadsheets formed like a calendar and as annotated and more structural versions that are machine-readable and linked to the transliterated texts.
Fourth, I will turn my dissertation into a reader-friendly book for which the transliterated texts and datasets will act asdigital appendices. In my dissertation, I considered the Deir el-Medina feasts as an expression of the religious beliefs and practices observed by the people inside their own local community, which are not necessarily the same as the practices inthe official state cult. The thesis was aimed at witnessing for my qualification as a doctoral researcher and therefore concentrated on presenting the source material. I will rewrite my thesis and publish it as a book comprehensible also for non-experts. As the research data will be published separately it will not be necessary to list all the references in the running text of the book and, thus, there will be more space to discuss the meaning of the festivities.