The iPad is an ideal tool for field archaeology.

This blog sets out to bring together experiences of archaeologists using iPads.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Success for cutting edge artefact imaging technique


The EU TISCH project has demonstrated that terahertz imaging and spectroscopy can be a viable, non-destructive and non-invasive tool to aid the retrieval and analysis of images of obscured features of artwork. Through a Marie Curie Postdoctoral Research Fellowship, Dr Bianca Jackson from the University of Reading in the UK was able to apply this technique to inspect layers of paint, detect structural defects in ceramics and image the physical structure of paintings and manuscripts. 


Mosaic depicting Jesus at Hagia Sophia, Constantinople  [Credit: Columbia University] '

Institutions that carry out cultural heritage research don't have a lot of extra money for emerging technology, but they do have the hearts and minds of the people – folks love to talk about what is being done with technology to better understand the mysterious Mona Lisa, or whether or not a sarcophagus contains Queen Neferititi,' says Jackson. 'So one of best ways to reduce costs and increase the accessibility of terahertz technology to open up new and interesting areas of applied research.'

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Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Marie-Antoinette's torrid affair with Swedish count revealed in decoded letters


French experts unravel mystery content of Marie-Antoinette’s secret love letters to a Swedish count thanks to cutting-edge imagery technology



Newly decoded letters penned by Marie-Antoinette suggest France’s last queen had a torrid affair with a Swedish count, amid claims that two of the children she had with Louis XVI were illegitimate.
Two centuries after the notoriously decadent royal was guillotined during the Revolution, researchers in France have finally unlocked the secrets of blacked-out secret passages from Marie Antoinette’s letters to Axel de Fersen, a friend of France’s royal family.
The first of 13 passages to be revealed in the coming months reads: “I will end [this letter] but not without telling you, my dear and gentle friend, that I love you madly and that there is never a moment in which I do not adore you.”
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Lasers used to make Staffordshire Hoard replicas


Laser technology is being used to help create replicas of items from the Staffordshire Hoard.
The hoard contains 3,500 items of jewellery and weapons from Anglo Saxon times with a value of more than £3m.
The Jewellery Industry Innovation Centre in Birmingham is working with the city's Museum and Art Gallery to make pieces to go on show to the public.

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Tuesday, January 12, 2016

New digital tools could help speed up cultural heritage work

New digital tools could help speed up cultural heritage work © Shutterstock

Archaeologists will soon have access to new digital tools for reassembly and erosion, while advances in predictive scanning could open up new market opportunities.

The EU-funded PRESIOUS project has developed software tools that could help improve the efficiency of the work of European archaeologists at a time when funding is tight , and shown that computer simulation can play a key role in assisting researchers across a range of disciplines, including the preservation of cultural heritage artefacts. Once the project is completed, these tools will be made freely available for archaeologists to download, while the consortium’s industry partner has used some of the advances made. 

‘We set out to address some of the challenges that archaeologists face in their everyday work,’ explains project coordinator Professor Theoharis Theoharis from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology. 

‘In order to better understand what monuments will look like under certain erosive conditions for example, we built simulation software – within the timescale and resources available – that enables an archaeologist to scan a stone object and estimate erosion patterns under different conditions.’

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