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Proceedings Paper

Imaging technique for washed-out ink inscriptions on vellum
Author(s): Alexander Kovalchuk
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Paper Abstract

An imaging technique that had been developed for reading destroyed texts in an ancient manuscript is described. A codex of early Peshitta Gospels was examined. The leaves of the codex were made of vellum. Texts were inscribed with black and red iron based inks. The codex suffered extensive damage from a prolonged exposure to water. The black ink was completely washed off from the majority of the pages. Multispectral imaging showed no detectable traces of ink in the pores of the vellum. It was discovered that the vellum retains "memory" of the long gone inscriptions. It has been shown that in oblique illumination a ratio of reflected to absorbed light differs for areas of vellum at which the ink once was applied and the areas which were never covered with ink. Experiments have been carried out for finding the optimal polarisation and spectral characteristics of light to be used for illumination of the surface of vellum as well as the best angles of incidence of light and angle of observation. A device for imaging folios of the water damaged Peshitta codex have been designed and the algorithms for processing the raw images have been developed. Application of the our imaging technique has allowed reading completely destroyed ink inscriptions of the invaluable historic artefact.

Paper Details

Date Published: 22 November 2011
PDF: 10 pages
Proc. SPIE 8338, Tenth International Conference on Correlation Optics, 83380I (22 November 2011); doi: 10.1117/12.918062
Show Author Affiliations
Alexander Kovalchuk, Univ. of Oxford (United Kingdom)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 8338:
Tenth International Conference on Correlation Optics
Oleg V. Angelsky, Editor(s)

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