Skip to comments.Shining a light on the past
Posted on 03/31/2010 4:52:45 PM PDT by SunkenCiv
Look at an ancient coin under ordinary light and the chances are that its features, worn down by its passage from hand to hand, will be hard to make out. Point a spotlight at it, though, so that the face of the coin is illuminated from an acute angle, and the resulting shadows will emphasise any minor details. This is the basic principle behind a novel technique that is helping archaeologists reveal previously invisible clues hidden in the worn or damaged surfaces of any objects they uncover. From wall paintings in Herculaneum to Scandinavian stone tools to rock art in Libya, polynomial texture mapping, as the process is known, is proving an invaluable way to illuminate the past. The lighting method was originally developed by Tom Malzbender, a computer scientist at HP's laboratory in Palo Alto, California, to generate better 3-D imagery for computer games... Graeme Earl of the University of Southampton, in England, has used the technique to study wall plaster from the Neolithic settlement of Catalhoyuk in Turkey and artefacts including consular brick stamps found at Portus, an ancient harbour at the mouth of the Tiber... has also been used to increase the number of readable characters on the Antikythera mechanism -- a badly corroded geared device that spent more than 2,000 years at the bottom of the sea -- from 800 to more than 2,000. It has also enhanced cuneiform inscriptions -- markings made in clay tablets dating back as far as 3000BC that are the earliest known form of writing.
(Excerpt) Read more at economist.com ...
It's called Polynomial Texture Mapping, and was...originally developed by Tom Malzbender, a computer scientist at HP's laboratory in Palo Alto, California, to generate better 3-D imagery for computer games...To all -- please ping me to other topics which are appropriate for the GGG list.
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