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Center for Academic Technology

RTI Project

Reflectance Transformation Imaging (RTI)


Tatum Turner performing calls RTI "...a computational photographic method that captures a subject’s surface shape and color and enables the interactive re-lighting of the subject from any direction. RTI also permits the mathematical enhancement of the subject’s surface shape and color attributes. The enhancement functions of RTI reveal surface information that is not disclosed under direct empirical examination of the physical object."


CAT's Involvement

In CAT, Information Commons student employee Tatum Turner is working with professor Lynne Kvapil to help her prepare to peform RTI on clay documents she'll be working with on a forthcoming trip to Greece. Ms. Turner's work is indispensable to the project; in fact, Professor Kvapil stated "...Tatum is the RTI expert here! She is the one who has really figured out how it works and is teaching me!".

Professor KvapilProfessor Kvapil provides background on her project:

 "I have been asked to publish inscribed clay documents from Petsas House, an archaeological site near Mycenae in Greece. People may know Mycenae as the home of mythical King Agamemnon, leader of the Greek forces in the Trojan War. Petsas House was a building complex in the settlement of Mycenae that was used for habitation, ceramic production, and storage during the 14th C BCE. The house was destroyed by earthquake and fire ca. 1300 BCE. The clay documents, which were found in a 13m deep well located within the house, are administrative in nature and are inscribed in Linear B, a syllabic script that records words in ancient Greek more than 500 years before the ancient Greek alphabet as we know it was developed. My hope is that RTI will reveal more clearly the inscriptions on these tablets and perhaps even instances of erasure and reuse so that we can better understand the economic operations of the house."

Learn more about RTI from the Cultural Heritage Science Open Source video below: