Northwestern University researchers say they have developed a new, non-destructive technology that reveals medieval texts hidden inside ancient bookbindings.
Between the 15th and 18th centuries, bookbinders reused the bindings from medieval parchments to create new binding materials for printed books. The Northwestern breakthrough provides a means to read these texts for the first time in centuries.
The researchers originally used a visible light hyperspectral imaging technique to view the writing, but it yielded poor results due to the parchment's irregular degradation. They then tried x-ray fluorescence imaging using a portable instrument, but the text was still unreadable due to poor spatial resolutions. Finally, the researchers used a machine learning algorithm to determine that a fusion of multiple imaging techniques would produce the best results.
The team combined visible hyperspectral imaging with x-ray fluorescence imaging and were able to determine the relative contribution of each modality to produce the best image.
From Northwestern University Newscenter
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