In A Different Light: An Examination of Artifacts Using Affordable Digital Infrared Imaging
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The objective of this thesis is to analyze the visual effectiveness of inexpensive, converted near-infrared digital cameras on a variety of artifacts. Twenty-nine artifacts ranging in condition from unconserved to having completed conservation were chosen from five main type groups; bone, ceramics, metal, paper and textile, and wood. Each artifact was imaged with both a conventional dSLR and one specifically modified to image within the near-infrared band of the electromagnetic spectrum. Following imaging, the two types of photographs for each artifact were directly compared, analyzing visual changes between conventional and near-infrared. The changes were described and each object given a rating of “not recommended”, “no change”, or “recommended” in regards to infrared imaging unveiling useful data outside of that seen with normal photography. Of the twenty-nine artifacts imaged, thirteen were “recommended” as showing potentially useful information for researchers. While no definitive claims could be made due to the variety of responses across all five groups, organic artifacts, as a whole, tended to show the most potential of responding positively to near-infrared photography using modified dSLRs. Even though none of the five groups imaged consistently across all its artifacts, the ability of modified dSLRs to define patterns in staining and corrosion, differentiating inks, penetrating dirt and stained surfaces, and revealing wood grain and tree rings was well noted and showed the potential of making such cameras a useful part of an analytical toolkit for archaeologists.
Cuellar, Samuel Marshall (2015). In A Different Light: An Examination of Artifacts Using Affordable Digital Infrared Imaging. Master's thesis, Texas A & M University. Available electronically from