(1 Center for the Study of Manuscript Cultures | 2 University of Hamburg, Hamburg, Germany)

Keywords: Multispectral Imaging, Recovery of Lost Writing, Spectral Reflectance, Non-Destructive

Multispectral Imaging (MSI) has established itself as a versatile optical and non-destructive full-field imaging technique for the recovery of damaged or erased writing in manuscripts and especially palimpsests. In this talk, the method and the Hamburg Multispectral Imaging System will be briefly introduced with its possibilities and limitations and its role in respect to other complementary material analysis methods such as XRF, Raman and FTIR. Also, aspects of spectral image acquiring that ensure highest image quality and especially the advanced methods of data analysis, which is an essential step in the workflow of recovering of lost writing, will be described.
Among presented improvements of Hamburg Multispectral Imaging System such as new LED light sources, camera control software and long term data storage solutions – there are also new calibration and workflow routines. Performed tests have confirmed that these recent upgrades of the system have overall led to significantly better results and helped to improve the readability of otherwise unreadable text enabling the scholars to work with higher quality data.
Selected projects will be presented to highlight the versatile abilities of Multispectral Imaging not only in recovery of lost writing in iron gall, carbon or plant inks, but also, for example, uncovering different layers of paintings and drawings on paper, parchment and even palm leafs, and even in providing preliminary results for other complementary techniques such as X-Ray Fluorescence Element Mapping.
An outlook for future improvements of the system towards next phase of the CSMC and the new generation of Multispectral Imaging Systems will round up this talk.

Relevance for the conference: With Multispectral imaging it is possible to reconstruct and recover lost writing
Relevance for the session: Multispectral Imaging can resurrect lost and erased writing
Innovation: Technical improvements in data acquisition and analysis
• Easton, R. L. Jr., Knox, K. T., Christens-Barry, W. A., Boydston, K., Toth, M. B., Emery, D., Noel, W. (2010), ‘Standardized system for multispectral imaging of palimpsests’, Proceedings of SPIE, 7531-12
• Janke, A.; MacDonald, C; ‘Multispectral Imaging of the San Lorenzo Palimpsest (Florence, Archivio del Capitolo di San Lorenzo, Ms 2211)’, Manuscript Cultures 7 113-24 (2014)