Using digital technology to analyse the pendant

This is an additional video, hosted on YouTube.

Because the lines on the pendant are so faint and very difficult to analyse by eye we used a number of cutting edge techniques to try and find ways of looking at the lines in detail. We published an interactive paper with all our techniques in Internet Archaeology, a free online journal and the paper was actually awarded a British Archaeology prize for being so innovative.

The first was white light 3D surface scanning, carried out by Dr Laura Fitton and the film above shows what the end product looked like. From this we were able to make a 3D print though it was not detailed and did not show the lines. If you want to download a version of the model for yourself you can do that by clicking download under Figure 5 in our article.

We also used a technique called Reflectance Transformation Imaging (RTI). RTI is a form of computational photography. A set of photographs of an object are captured from a fixed camera and in each photograph the object is lit from a different direction. Using software called RTI builder, these photographs are then combined in order to generate an interactive image within which the user can control the direction and power of the light. On Figure 12 of our paper you can manipulate the image for yourself by zooming in and out and changing the light source. It is amazing because it really is like looking at the real thing down a microscope. Do have a go and seeing whether you can count the very small lines.

Further resources

The paper in Internet Archaeology provides further detail.

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Exploring Stone Age Archaeology: The Mysteries of Star Carr

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