Art & Archaeology

Illuminating the past through modern techniques: A review of computer-based methods for archaeological pottery analysis

By Lisa McDonald / July 1, 2022

Computer-based methods aid in identification, classification, and reconstruction of ancient artifacts. A recent review paper outlines the strengths and weaknesses of current state-of-the-art computer-based methods for analyzing archaeological pottery.

Read More

Revealing secrets of the past—nanoscale engineering gave historic glaze its iridescence

By Lisa McDonald / May 13, 2022

As new analysis methods are developed and refined, researchers can illuminate the science behind past techniques that were designed through trial and error. A group led by researchers from the California Institute of Technology used advanced analytical techniques to show how nanoscale engineering gave a historic purple overglaze its distinctive iridescence.

Read More

Let there be (controlled) light—new calibration method eliminates illumination variations in scans of stained-glass windows

By Lisa McDonald / April 1, 2022

Hyperspectral imaging has gained much attention in the field of cultural heritage, but there are difficulties using it outdoors due to ever-changing levels of light. Researchers looked to overcome this limitation by developing a calibration method that can account for and eliminate variations in illumination.

Read More

Video: Europe’s gas crisis comes for Venice glassblowers

By Lisa McDonald / March 16, 2022

The Russian invasion of Ukraine is contributing to an ongoing surge in fuel prices that has greatly affected numerous European industries since last fall. Last November we reported on challenges faced by the ceramics industry, and today we look at the struggles of Venice glassblowers to keep their centuries-old tradition alive.

Read More

Ceramic characterization reveals the practices of a late medieval brass foundry

By Lisa McDonald / March 11, 2022

Historical research on the trade of metal supplies and objects often overshadows studies on the practices, recipes, and supplies of clays used by metallurgists of the time. Researchers in Belgium and France characterized metallurgical ceramic samples from the remains of a Late Medieval Period foundry in Brussels and found the analyses, in conjunction with written sources, highlight the mobility of clay materials, not just metal.

Read More

Video: Ladi Kwali, the famous Nigerian potter who blended African and Western pottery

By Lisa McDonald / February 23, 2022

Two Temple Place in London is holding a special exhibition on Black women artists working in clay, with a central focus on Nigerian potter Ladi Kwali. Learn about Kwali’s life and her seminal work in blending traditional African pottery with Western studio pottery techniques.

Read More

Video: Fiberglass ducks make a splash in Pennsylvania borough

By Lisa McDonald / January 5, 2022

Ducks are the unofficial mascot of small-town Yardley, Pa. A local nonprofit recently launched a new project involving fiberglass ducks to promote the town.

Read More

Deep learning method aids restoration of damaged Persian pottery

By Lisa McDonald / December 17, 2021

Advancement of machine learning techniques has significantly improved the performance of automatic image understanding. Two researchers in Iran developed a deep learning method to help restore motifs on ancient Persian pottery.

Read More

Video: History of vintage ceramic Christmas trees

By Lisa McDonald / December 8, 2021

Looking for ways to spruce up your holiday decorations? Learn the history behind the vintage ceramic Christmas trees of the mid-20th century and things to consider when purchasing one of your own.

Read More

Extracting proteins from pottery: Researchers advance proteomic profiling of ceramic artifacts

By Lisa McDonald / September 28, 2021

There are relatively few examples of successful recovery and identification of archeological protein residues from ceramic artifacts. Researchers led by the University of Catania in Italy looked to advance the application of proteomics to ancient ceramics by investigating prehistoric pottery from the Maltese Bronze/Iron Age site of il-Qlejgħa tal-Baħrija.

Read More