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Pushing boundaries: spectral imaging of archaeological small finds

Pushing boundaries: spectral imaging of archaeological small finds

Christie, Heather R

Submitted in part-fulfillment of the degree of Doctor of Philosophy at Glasgow School of Art

Manuscript. English.
Published Glasgow: Glasgow School of Art, 2019

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Statement of responsibility: Heather R. Christie
Note: Archaeologists generally view images and 3D models as objective witnesses to archaeological scholarship and excavation, capturing the subject as seen by human eyes so others can ‘see’ it for themselves. We employ the newest technology we can afford using prescribed, standardised methods to create as objective an image or visualisation as possible. There is much more to photography and 3D imaging, however, and restricting ourselves in this way severely limits the information we can gather from images. In this thesis, I introduce novel, effective and affordable methods for digitally imaging small, reflective and translucent objects using photography, PTM reflectance transformation imaging, and structure from motion photogrammetry. I focus on glass beads from Iron Age and Early Medieval Scottish contexts. First, I identify regional differences in trade and manufacture of Iron Age and Early Medieval Scottish glass beads using visible-range photographic filters to examine bubble concentrations. Next, I determine the chemical relationships between Iron Age and Early Medieval glass bead collections in Scotland and Anglo-Saxon, Roman, New Kingdom Egyptian, Medieval English, and modern collections using near-ultraviolet and near-infrared photographic filters. Third, I use visible- and non-visible-range filters to greatly increase the success rate of reflectance transformation imaging and structure from motion photogrammetry of glass beads. Finally, I apply all these techniques to non-glass subjects to demonstrate their wider applications. In conclusion, I argue that investigating and deploying novel and affordable imaging techniques in addition to standardised current technologies provides significantly more archaeological data than the current practice of continually adopting new imaging technologies for primarily documentary purposes.
Dissertation note: PhD Glasgow School of Art 2019
Physical Description: 463 p. : ill. (some col.) + 1 disc
Cited: EThOS, 777472