First preliminary results of the Egyptian Execration Statuettes (EES) Project

The EES Project, funded by the Belgian Science Policy agency Belspo (BR/121/PI/EES), aims to create multispectral 3D images of the Egyptian Execration figurines of the Royal Museums of Art and History (RMAH) with the newly developed Multispectral Microdome, developed in the framework of the RICH project, in order to enable a detailed study of the texts without handling the figurines themselves.

The first tests with the MS Microdome (see also blog below) already delivered some very promising results for the figurines inscribed with (red) ochre ink. When comparing the MS Microdome image to the conventional photos, it is clear that the legibility of the faded signs has improved significantly. This gives us the opportunity to reconstruct parts of the inscription which were previously considered to be lost for good.

Based on these first tests, the software can now be further adapted.

E9076 Compilation of different imagesBased on the MS microdome images an otherwise impossible attempt could be made to visualize and detect the at the bottom of the illustration highlighted line of inscription.

Execration statuettes are small figurines, inscribed with hieratic texts, listing the enemies of the Pharaoh. They are dated to the end of the 12th Dynasty (c. 1850 B.C.). The Royal Museums of Art and History (RMAH) house a large collection of these figurines, obtained by the famous Belgian Egyptologist Jean Capart in 1938. The figurines, made of unbaked clay and inscribed with black or (red) ochre ink, are currently in a very fragile condition.

These first preliminary results were made possible thanks to the continuing efforts by Marc Proesmans of the ESAT labs at the KU Leuven; Bruno Vandermeulen of the KU Leuven Arts Faculty Photolab and the Royal Museums of Art and History team in Brussels: Athena Van der Perre, Vanessa Boschloos, Hendrik Hameeuw and Luc Delvaux.

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