Cultural Heritage Advanced Research Infrastructures: Synergy for a Multidisciplinary Approach to conservation and restoration

Project leaders

Department of Conservation and Scientific Research 

Supported by

  • Access to Research Infrastructures activity in the 7th Framework Programme of the EU

Share this project

Technical imaging

In recent times, multispectral imaging techniques have become increasingly embedded in the available examination and analytical methodologies for the examination of cultural heritage objects.

These techniques, which include both luminescence imaging methods and a range of related broadband reflectance imaging methods, are not only used by scientists but are also increasingly being adopted by a much wider range of users including conservators, archaeologists and curators, in more diverse and challenging settings. However, although attractive in offering qualitative, non-invasive and often relatively inexpensive and portable tools for spatial localisation of specific materials or material types, imaging techniques – and particularly luminescence imaging techniques – have tended to be highly set-up dependent, making cross-comparison between different institutions and researchers very difficult. It has thus become evident that there is a need to establish a clear set of widely accessible methods and protocols from which to work.

As part of the CHARISMA project, research has been undertaken to develop new optimised methodologies for the acquisition and processing of images. In developing new optimised multispectral imaging methodologies, emphasis has been placed on using equipment which is readily available and creating a set of user-friendly practical materials and resources, which are aimed at a broad range of users and are as accessible as possible. In this way it is hoped that these are not only widely adopted by the cultural heritage community but also address the needs of users beyond it.

The result is the creation of a User Manual and post-processing software tools which are available for download;

Preset files for Abode Photoshop:

The software tool is designed to run as ‘add-ins’ to nip2, the graphical interface of the free processing system VIPS. The current version of nip2 can be downloaded here;

The User Manual not only outlines the theory of how to acquire and post-process the multispectral image sets but also provides practical details concerning experimental set-ups, equipment recommendations and acquisition protocols. The Manual also describes the development and instructions on the use of the post-processing software tools and how these incorporate the theory discussed into workflows for the correction of the multispectral imaging data sets.

The current versions of both this User Manual and the post-processing software tools are the result of an iterative process of development, feedback and refinement which is likely to continue beyond the scope of the CHARISMA project, as both techniques and the technologies employed to produce equipment develop. Check for updates from