Team, Visitors, External Collaborators
Overall Objectives
Research Program
Application Domains
Highlights of the Year
New Results
Bilateral Contracts and Grants with Industry
Partnerships and Cooperations
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Section: New Results

Imaging and modeling ancient materials

Participants : Vanna Lisa Coli, Juliette Leblond, Pat Vatiwutipong.

This is a recent activity of the team, linked to image classification in archaeology in the framework of the project ToMaT (see Regional Initiatives below) and to the post-doctoral stay of V. L. Coli; it is pursued in collaboration with L. Blanc-Féraud (project-team Morpheme, I3S-CNRS/Inria Sophia/iBV), D. Binder (CEPAM-CNRS, Nice), in particular.

The pottery style is classically used as the main cultural marker within Neolithic studies. Archaeological analyses focus on pottery technology, and particularly on the first stages of pottery manufacturing processes. These stages are the most demonstrative for identifying the technical traditions, as they are considered as crucial in apprenticeship processes. Until now, the identification of pottery manufacturing methods was based on macro-traces analysis, i.e. surface topography, breaks and discontinuities indicating the type of elements (coils, slabs, ...) and the way they were put together for building the pots. Overcoming the limitations inherent to the macroscopic pottery examination requires a complete access to the internal structure of the pots. Micro-computed tomography (μCT) has recently been used for exploring ancient materials microstructure. This non-invasive method provides quantitative data for a big set of proxies and is perfectly adapted to the analysis of Cultural heritage materials.

The main challenge of our current analyses aims to overcome the lack of existing protocols to apply in order to quantify observations. In order to characterize the manufacturing sequences, the mapping of the paste variability (distribution and composition of temper) and the discontinuities linked to different classes of pores, fabrics and/or organic inclusions appears promising. The totality of the acquired images composes a set of 2-D and 3-D surface and volume data at different resolutions and with specific physical characteristics related to each acquisition modality (multimodal and multi-scale data). Specific shape recognition methods need to be developed by application of robust imaging techniques and 3-D-shapes recognition algorithms.

In a first step, we devised a method to isolate pores from the 3-D data volumes in binary 3-D images, to which we apply a process named Hough transform (derived from Radon transform). This method, of which the generalization from 2-D to 3-D is quite recent, allows us to evaluate the presence of parallel lines going through the pores. The quantity of such lines is a good indicator of the “coiling” manufacturing, that it allows to distinguish from the other “spiral patchwork” patchwork technique, in particular. These progresses are described in [20], [22], [21], and the object of an article in preparation.

The Hough and Radon transforms can also be applied to 2-D slices of the available 3-D images displaying pores locations. In this framework, the use of Radon transform to evaluate the density of points in the image that do belong to (or almost) parallel lines appears to be quite efficient, as was seen during P. Vatiwutipong's internship.

Other possibilities of investigation will be analyzed as well, such as machine learning techniques.