Looking into the past: the potential of x-radiography as an investigative technique for archaeological and ethnographic textiles

Brooks, M.M. and O'Connor, Sonia A (2007) Looking into the past: the potential of x-radiography as an investigative technique for archaeological and ethnographic textiles. In, Cortes, Emilia and Thomassen-Krauss, Suzanne (eds.) Recovering the Past: the Conservation of Archaeological and Ethnographic Textiles. Congreso de Conservacion de Textiles de America del Norte 2005 USA, North American Textile Conservation Committee(NATCC), 87-97.


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X-radiography is an established non-destructive analytical technique which is not usually applied to the investigation of textiles. This paper presents initial results of a five year project. This innovative and collaborative research between the Universities of Southampton and Bradford is being carried out under the auspices of the Arts and Humanities Research Board (AHRB) Research Centre for Textile Conservation and Textile Studies. The potential of X-radiography as a tool for the characterisation, condition assessment and study of archaeological and ethnographic textiles is presented. Specific techniques, which have been applied to the x-radiography of textiles, are outlined, including low kV imaging with appropriate filtration. Brief reference is made to the benefits of image digitisation and digital image processing of the resulting X-radiographs. As a result of collaborations with a number of U.K. museums and collections, a series of case studies of archeological, ethnographic and folk textiles, including quilts, will be presented. These case histories demonstrate the added value that such investigative techniques can provide, not only in the greater understanding of the artifact but also in aiding decision-making by conservators and curators. X-radiographs are also an exciting and dramatic tool for communicating a greater understanding of textiles to the public.

Item Type: Book Section
ISBNs: 0974643815 (hardback)
Keywords: X-radiography, textiles, conservation decision-making, archaeological textiles
Subjects: N Fine Arts > NM Artefact
Q Science > QC Physics
N Fine Arts > NK Decorative arts Applied arts Decoration and ornament
A General Works > AM Museums (General). Collectors and collecting (General)
Divisions : University Structure - Pre August 2011 > School of Art
ePrint ID: 37964
Accepted Date and Publication Date:
Date Deposited: 26 May 2006
Last Modified: 31 Mar 2016 12:07
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/37964

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