Documentation Of Lithic Artifacts Using An Inexpensive Reflectance Transformation Imaging System

Author(s): Leszek Pawlowicz

Year: 2015


Reflectance Transformation Imaging (RTI) creates a relightable virtual image of an artifact, allowing interactive manipulation of the light direction and light curve characteristics to bring out details difficult to impossible to see with the naked eye or in a photograph. One potential use of RTI is in the visual documentation of lithic artifacts, traditionally done using line drawings because of the difficulty in recording their features using still photographs. Techniques for enhancing lithic artifact detail for photographs, like casting or flake scar decoration with magnesium oxide or ammonium chloride, are time-consuming, present safety risks, and have the potential to leave residues or even damage artifacts; RTI requires no special specimen preparation. One impediment to RTI’s adoption has been expense – custom-made systems are extremely costly. We present results on lithic artifacts from an RTI system custom-built for a small fraction of the traditional cost, but which offers performance comparable to more expensive systems. We describe image enhancement techniques that use results from our RTI system to create visual artifact documentation comparable or superior to traditional line drawings or photographs, at a fraction of the time and cost.

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Documentation Of Lithic Artifacts Using An Inexpensive Reflectance Transformation Imaging System. Leszek Pawlowicz. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 398176)

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min long: -115.532; min lat: 30.676 ; max long: -102.349; max lat: 42.033 ;