Gregory Bearman, Mark S. Anderson & Kenneth Aitchison. 2011. New Imaging Methods to Improve Text Legibility of Ostraca – PalArch’s Journal of Archaeology of Egypt/Egyptology, 8(2) (2011)
We report on experiments on three new methods to improve text contrast for carbon ink ostraca. These are (1) Raman imaging, (2) Micro-focus XRF scanning and (3) exogenous contrast agents either to enhance the X-ray signal or create an optical fluorescence signal. We tested all three methods with modern ‘stunt’ ostraca, made using a variety of carbon-based inks. In each imaging modality, the inks are clearly differentiated from the clay background. The exogenous contrast enhancement, in particular, suggests a variety of approaches to improving text legibility.