AHRC RTISAD project leads to new research around proto-Elamite

Read a news article on the BBC website about our collaboration with University of Oxford to develop a Reflectance Transformation Imaging system for recording ancient documents. This work was partly funded by an AHRC grant under the DEDEFI scheme. Our role at Southampton has been to develop the capture software and bespoke hardware – described in the article as “part sci-fi, part-DIY, is providing the most detailed and high quality images ever taken of these elusive symbols cut into clay tablets. This is Indiana Jones with software”.

The work to develop the RTI system and to carry out many hundreds of trial captures on objects as diverse as the Easter Island statue at the British Museum, statues and wooden tablets from Herculaneum, handaxes, rock art in Scotland, Libya and Western Australia, and Records of the Patents Office from the National Archives was initially funded by the AHRC to examine the possibilities of photometric stereo in recording archaeological and ancient document artefacts. You can learn more about our RTI research on the Archaeological Computing Research Group website. The RTISAD project was a collaboration between @ArchCRG and Electronics and Computer Science at Southampton, and the Faculty of Oriental Studies and the Faculty of Classics at University of Oxford.

Breakthrough in world’s oldest undeciphered writing
The world’s oldest undeciphered writing system, which has so far defied attempts to uncover its 5,000-year-old secrets, could be about to be decoded by Oxford University academics. This international research project is already casting light on a lost bronze age middle eastern society where enslaved workers lived on rations close to the starvation level. []