ha - am - mu - ra - bi*

2D+ [1]

Click and drag the mouse on this 4000 year old cuneiform tablet to move the light. Right-click for a pop-up menu with controls for changing brightness, specularity[2], accessibility[3], and depth[4] shading.

2D+ images combine standard 2D color information with geometric data derived from 3D models. This allows for image manipulation capabilities lying somewhere between 2D and 3D.

This particular 2D+ image was generated from a 3D surface scan of a daily ration tablet from the Third Dynasty of Ur in ancient Babylonia, 2000 BC[5].

Digital Hammurabi"s goal is to make the world"s oldest written documents available to everyone over the World Wide Web.


[1] 2D+ is a Java applet programmed by Dean Snyder, integrating 2D+ and 3D algorithms contributed by Dr. Michael Kazhdan, Dr. Jonathan Cohen, Dr. Subodh Kumar, Budirijanto Purnomo, Yuan Chen, John Graettinger, and Matthew Bolitho of the Johns Hopkins University Computer Science Graphics Lab. The 3D model is from a surface scan of Johns Hopkins cuneiform tablet #t24 done by Daniel Hahn, Dr. Don Duncan, Dr.Kevin Baldwin et al. of the Electro-Optical Group at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory.

[2]Specularity is basically a technical term for shininess.

[3]Accessibility shading computes the maximum radius of a sphere that can fit in each depression, thereby approximating how much light reaches inside. The narrower the area, the darker it appears.

[4]Depth shading computes the local depth of each point from a statistically constructed surface in its neighborhood and uses that to modify the amount of light reaching that point for shading. It assumes that on average deeper recesses receive less light.

[5]This tiny tablet, about the size of a U.S. quarter, records one day"s rations of beer, bread, garlic, oil, and soap for eight imperial messengers at a way station in the province of Umma in the empire of the Third Dynasty of Ur. The Third Dynasty of Ur controlled most of present-day Iraq and parts of western Iran from about 2100 BC to 2000 BC. Known from the Old Testament as "Ur of the Chaldees", Ur is a major archeological site in southern Iraq. Umma, northeast of Ur, has been the scene of intensive looting in the last 20 years.