Brighton N.Y. — Robert Johnston, whose work in the digital restoration of archeological finds resulted in ways to read ancient degraded texts such as the Dead Sea Scrolls, died Oct. 19. He was 77.
Professor Johnston, a teacher at the Rochester Institute of Technology, whose career there began in 1970, was considered a pioneer in the digital capture and processing of degraded images. In March of 2004, he and Lucanus Morgan, an RIT imaging-science alumnus, spent 10 days in Tel Aviv to digitize a part of an ancient manuscript known as the Temple Scroll, the longest of the Dead Sea Scrolls at 8.5 metres. The Dead Sea Scrolls date back to the time of Christ.
Prof. Johnston participated in more than 60 archeological excavations throughout the Middle and Far East. His work also included decoding fragments of the papyrus documents containing firsthand accounts of daily life in ancient Egypt. AP