Multispectral images of ostraca: Acquisition and analysis

Shira Faigenbaum*, Barak Sober, Arie Shaus, Murray Moinester, Eli Piasetzky, Gregory Bearman, Michael Cordonsky, Israel Finkelstein

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


We examine how multispectral imaging can be used to document and improve reading of ancient inscriptions. The research focuses on ostraca, texts written in ink on ceramic potsherds. Three corpora of Hebrew ostraca dating to the Iron Age II were imaged in visible and near infrared light using a state-of-the-art commercial spectral imager. To assess the quality of images, we used a new quality evaluation measure which takes into account various contrast and brightness transformations. We show that there exists a wavelength range where the readability of ostraca is enhanced. Moreover, we show that it is sufficient to use certain bandpass filters to achieve the most favorable image. Our study paves the way towards a low cost multispectral method of imaging ostraca inscriptions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3581-3590
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Archaeological Science
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2012


FundersFunder number
Seventh Framework Programme229418


    • CMI
    • Contrast evaluation
    • Epigraphy
    • Hebrew epigraphy
    • Multispectral imaging
    • Ostraca
    • Potential contrast
    • Visible and near infrared photography


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