From 18 to 21 November 2013 the Portable Light Dome was used at the Musée Louvain-La-Neuve (UCLouvain, Belgium) for a recording programme of cuneiform documents, Mesopotamian seal impressions, antique coins, Etruscan mirrors, gold leaf inscriptions, scarabs and other archaeological objects.
This imaging programme was fulfilled within the frameworks of the IAP 7/14: Greater Mesopotamia. We sincerely thank Etienne Duyckaerts, Emmanuelle Druart and Jan Tavernier for the opportunity and hospitality.
Already the day after some of the objects were recorded with the PLD system, images of the results were on exhibit in the Musée LLN vitrines, speaking of efficiency!!!
From July 27 – August 9 the Portable Light Dome system was used at the Cornell University to scan a total of 180 cuneiform tablets. This imaging program was scheduled in support of the upcoming publication of these Old Babylonian texts by Prof. K. Abraham, Prof. em. K. van Lerberghe and G. Voet. During this run the PLD made scans with two different camera’s, the Manta G504C IRC and the Prosilica GX6600c, both from Allied. From one and the same surface with both camera’s a same best-possible-recording was made. Below a comparison to illustrate the differences between the low-definition Manta (5 mill. pixels) and the Prosilica (28 mill. pixels). The test proved no real or sufficient benefit could be found in using the HD-camera when monitoring cuneiform tablets. Only for large tablets, with many lines of cuneiform script the test showed in favor for the Prosilica.
left: 5 mill. pixel Manta; Right 28 mill. pixel Prosilica
From June 30th until July 13th, Dr. Anne Goddeeris studied a number of cuneiform tablets in the University Museum of the University of Pennsylvania. The research stay took place in the framework of Work Package V, “History and Chronology” (supported via WP VI) of the Greater Mesopotamia IAP in which the KU Leuven participates and was additionally financed by the FWO-Vlaanderen.
In the museum, she studied legal and administrative texts from Nippur, the religious capital of Babylonia, dating from 1900-1700 BC. These archives, excavated by the Babylonian Expedition at the end of the 19th century, are dispersed over three collections, now kept in Istanbul (Turkey), Jena (Germany) and Philadelphia (US). The texts in Philadelphia have been collated, situated in their archival context and recorded with the Portable Light Dome system. In some cases, the PLD recordings of fragments of these texts could be joined with other fragments Anne recorded with the Portable Light Dome some years ago at Jena Universität, Germany. A wonderful example of virtual reconstructions of ancient artefacts which have been spread around the world in modern times.
Hendrik Hameeuw: Interactive Cuneiform Imaging for Research and Publishing @ Rencontre Assyriologique Internationale, Ghent, 2013.
PDF of poster
The city museum in Nivelles, Belgium requested a conservation treatment and visual documentation of an early 15th century cuir bouilli (the medieval Norman-French term of boiled leather) coffer deckle, with remains of a polychrome painting. The technique was popular in Paris and Flanders in the high Middle-Ages, not only for armour, but also for decorating the covering material of small coffers with devotional scenes.The leather of this skilfully tooled but severely damaged panel (245 to 320 mm), is depicting a ‘Closed Garden with a Virgin and Child’. Conservator Lieve Watteeuw and photographer Bruno Vandermeulen (RICH team) monitored last week the medieval object with the minidome, to document the topography of the leather surface, like tools used to create the scene (e.g. pounces, stamps and knifes of different thickness). The highest point in the shaped leather is the shoulder of the virgin, ca 40 mm higher than the gilded background.
Early Summer 2013, via an easy to browse and use webviewer the images recorded and calculated via the Portable Light Dome system can be published and consulted online. As testcase the Leuven Cuneiform Collection can be viewed via the link below. For the online interactive images click the blue icons. This application works on all webbrowers supporting WebGL, in general these are Firefox, Chrome and Safari.
First half of the fourteenth century. Central and Southern Europe were governed by the successful dynasty of Anjou. In 1328, after the death of her father, Joanna of Anjou became the official heir to the prosperous house of the kings of Naples and Sicily. Several years later her grandfather, Robert I, gave Joanna and her young Hungarian fiancé Andrew a precious gift. That gift was a book which became known as the Anjou Bible, a manuscript that is priceless from a historical and art-historical point of view.
One of the Napolitan artists responsible for the magnificent workmanship was Christophorus Orimina. He put his stamp on the work with his powerful, true-to-life, Byzantine-looking figures. The Portable Light Dome of the RICH project was taken into the strong room of the Maurits Sabbe Library to extend the art-technical research. The RICH team could visualize in detail specific techniques the illuminator used.
On the bas-de-page miniature of folio 308, we see king Robert of Anjou surrounded by his scribes. As the miniature is painted on parchment, the lightning reveals the soft bends in the flexible animal skin (with the shaded filter). The figure of Robert I is shaped in several layers of tempera paint, his robe in a thin layer of blue (azurite), heightened with black (carbon black) and lead white. As the paints has different binders, the thickness of the brush strokes becomes visible. The gold leave is placed on a raised gesso-ground, of ca. 1,4 mm high (measuring and height profile tool), creating a splendid light reflection. A frame in double incised blind lines is enhancing the gilded surface.
To know more about the Bible of Anjou Project, see:
Lieve Watteeuw, Van Bos, M. (2010). Illuminating with Pen and Bruch. The Techniques of a Fourteenth-Century Neapolitan Illuminator Explored. In: Watteeuw L., Van der Stock J. (Eds.), The Anjou Bible. Naples 1340. A Royal Manuscript Revealed. Corpus of Illuminated Manuscripts, vol. 18 (pp. 147-170). Paris – Leuven – Warlpole, Peeters Publishers, 2010