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Proceedings Paper

Enhancement of overwritten text in the Archimedes Palimpsest
Author(s): Keith T. Knox
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Paper Abstract

The Archimedes Palimpsest is a thousand-year old overwritten parchment manuscript, containing several treatises by Archimedes. Eight hundred years ago, it was erased, overwritten and bound into a prayer book. In the middle of the twentieth century, a few pages were painted over with forged Byzantine icons. Today, a team of imagers, scholars and conservators is recovering and interpreting the erased Archimedes writings. Two different methods have been used to reveal the erased undertext. Spectral information is obtained by illuminating the manuscript with narrow-band light from the ultraviolet, through the visible wavebands and into the near-infrared wavelengths. Characters are extracted by combining pairs of spectral bands or by spectral unmixing techniques adapted from remote sensing. Lastly, since all of the text was written with iron gall ink, X-Ray fluorescence has been used to expose the ink underneath the painted icons. This paper describes the use of color to enhance the erased text in the processed images and to make it visible to the scholars. Special pseudocolor techniques have been developed that significantly increase the contrast of the erased text and make it possible to be read by the scholars despite the presence of the obscuring, overlaid text.

Paper Details

Date Published: 29 February 2008
PDF: 11 pages
Proc. SPIE 6810, Computer Image Analysis in the Study of Art, 681004 (29 February 2008); doi: 10.1117/12.766679
Show Author Affiliations
Keith T. Knox, Boeing LTS (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 6810:
Computer Image Analysis in the Study of Art
David G. Stork; Jim Coddington, Editor(s)

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