Until relatively recently, much of the history of the Western World was written on parchment a treated dried animal skin and then more predominantly paper. Developed without longevity in mind, these objects inevitably get damaged and degrade. So what can be done to ensure the information they hold is not lost forever?
In some cases, the deterioration of these complex materials is at such an advanced state that they are glued together, or fragile and friable so that any attempt to unravel the document would cause catastrophic fragmentation, rendering the written information contained permanently inaccessible. The purpose of this project is to develop a facility using high contrast X-ray microtomography (XMT) in conjunction with advanced image processing algorithms to enable the reading of such fragile historic documents without the need to physically unravel them, thus providing valuable inaccessible information to a wide range of scholarly disciplines.
The project develops novel data collection methods in conjunction with computational strategies to reveal text to conservators, historians, palaeographers, social scientists and the public.