Digital recording of faded color traces on certain slab stela originated from the Giza Plateau

Aug 29, 2020

With relatively recent documentation techniques, such as digital photography, laser scanning, and – the more novel – photogrammetry – it is finally possible to take an accurate recording of every inch on any surfaces, down to a micro-granular level. Therefore, today, most epigraphic practices are designed to provide the necessary synthesis of decorative elements, rather than aiming for a faithful representation of the original context, including its paint scheme. Nevertheless, color is the main characteristic element of many ancient Egyptian artifacts, therefore, indicating its relevant aspects (especially concerning faded areas that are hard to photograph) should still be considered to have a prominent role in the epigraphic representation.

As pointed out by Peter Der Manuelian in his essay, demonstrated by recording faded paint traces on certain painted slab stelae originated from the Giza Plateau’s Western Cemetery. Although his study was done several years ago, while pioneering digital epigraphic documentation using Adobe Illustrator, it still a worthwhile demonstration of utilizing digital tools in order to emphasize elements that might have remained unnoticeable for the camera.⠀

If you haven’t read this case study written by Peter Der Manuelian, Barbara Bell Professor of Egyptology, and director of the Harvard Museum of the Ancient Near East at Harvard University, about the digital representation of faded paint layers, you can do so by clicking here.

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