The University of Southampton

ECS imaging system in use in the British Museum and the Louvre

Published: 12 December 2014

A special imaging system has been delivered to the British Museum and the Louvre. The "reflectance transformation imaging" domes use 76 LED lights and a high quality digital SLR camera to capture unique images of ancient artefacts. The images allow researchers to read the cuneiform tablets more easily as well as study small surface details. The systems were designed and built in ECS by Dr Kirk Martinez and Dr Philip Basford with help from Mark Long in the ECS mechanical workshop. An ongoing collaboration with Jacob Dahl and Klaus Wagensonner from Oxford University has led to the mass capture of cuneiform tablets (over four thousand) which will have a positive impact on historical studies around the world.

A third system has been used in the Schøyen Collection in Sweden to image thousands of tablets. That system is due to move to Pensylvania in 2015.

Partners: Cuneiform Digital Library Initiative and the University of Oxford: Dr Jacob L. Dahl, Associate Professor of Assyriology & co-PI, CDLI

Louvre Museum: Béatrice André-Salvini, Director, Department of Near Eastern Antiquities

Cuneiform Digital Library Initiative and UCLA: Robert K. Englund, Professor of Assyriology & Director, CDLI

Dr John Cupitt, Imperial College

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