RTI & Numismatics Conservation

RTI is considered to be a powerful documentation tool for cultural heritage applications. Previous work in the field of RTI in numismatic studies demonstrated advantages in identification and documentation issues in comparison to traditional approaches, as well as improved communication and dissemination abilities (Mudge et al. 2005; Gabov and Bevan 2011). In our recent study, in cooperation with Maria Kyranoudi, conservator from  the Archaeological museum of Amphipolis, twenty five Roman or ancient Greek copper alloy and silver coins were visualised in .ptm and/or .rti format before, during and after mechanical cleaning under the microscope, in an attempt to test RTI’s efficacy in conservation documentation and monitoring of remedial conservation operations.

The results indicated that RTI not only assists coin identification, but also enables advanced conservation documentation and monitoring of cleaning operations. Moreover, RTI’s use in the field of preventive conservation, as well as its significance for providing access to cultural heritage collections is advantageous, in particular in the case of coins, given problems of small size and low relief detail. In addition, RTI offers an advanced method for the examination and condition reporting of surface effects, such as corroded, pitted surfaces with encrustations and scratches.  Other effects due to conservation treatment can be captured using RTI.  Also, monitoring of the conservation process as well as the condition of the coin is possible. RTI can be considered as the most effective way of evaluating the success of conservation treatment. Characteristic example is the coin with the legend SALUSAVGG, which represents Salus standing right, holding out a patera in her left hand to feed a snake held in her right arm.

Figure 1: Digital image, before (top left) and after (top middle) conservation

Figure 2: RTI visualizations before conservation (top right and bottom left)

Figure 3: RTI visualizations after conservation (bottom middle and bottom right)

Mudge, M., Voutaz, J.-pierre, Schroer, C., & Lum, M. (2005). Reflection Transformation Imaging and Virtual Representations of Coins from the Hospice of the Grand St . Bernard. The 6th International Symposium on Virtual Reality, Archaeology and Cultural Heritage VAST.

Gabov, A., Bevan, G. (2011) RTIiCAN blog. at http://rtiican.wordpress.com