Illuminating the Herculaneum Papyri: Testing new imaging techniques on unrolled carbonised manuscript fragments

Kathryn E. Piquette

Abstract


This article describes the results of advanced imaging pilot testing on unrolled Herculaneum Papyri undertaken in 2014 as part of a collaboration between the Universität zu Köln and the Biblioteca Nazionale di Napoli. Building on results obtained by a Brigham Young University team in 1999–2002 using near infrared (NIR) photography, the aim was to test the potential for improving legibility and documentation of surface structures by combining the nondestructive techniques of NIR and Reflectance Transformation Imaging (RTI). The results show that, in addition to achieving super high-resolution images with enhanced contrast between the black ink and carbonised papyrus, NIR-RTI enables more accurate recording of surface morphology surface and enables the user to clarify the relationships between the ink constrate and the papyrus substrate. The article also identifies areas for improving image acquisition and usability.


Schlagworte


Herculaneum papyri; digital imaging; Reflectance Transformation Imaging; infrared photography

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.11588/dco.2017.0.39417

URN (PDF (English)): http://nbn-resolving.de/urn:nbn:de:bsz:16-dco-394179

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