Hidden Ancient Egyptian Paintings Revealed Thanks To New Digital Imaging Tool

Hidden Ancient Egyptian Paintings Revealed Thanks To New Digital Imaging Tool

Scientists have used a new imaging technique to re-examine Egyptian art and find details that were previously missing.

Linda Evans and Anna-Latifa Mourad from Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia describe in their paper in the Journal of Archaeological Science how they used a technique called DStretch to analyze the ancient paintings. These paintings were found at Beni Hassan, an ancient Egyptian cemetery that’s located near to the city of Minya in modern Egypt.

"Egyptologists have not realised [DStretch's] potential in helping us to examine and record ancient wall paintings," Dr Evans told IFLScience.

First developed in 2005, DStretch allows digital images to be enhanced, helping to reveal faint paintings and engravings. The software analyzes three bands of RGB color in an image, and improves the intensity and saturation of them. It sort of stretches the colors out and then maps them back to normal, to show a greater distinction. It's been used on everything from rock art to Mars rover images.

Beni Hassan, used in the Middle Kingdom period (2050 and 1710 BC), is known for its exceptional artwork. Previously we’ve unearthed some odd things there, like a mongoose being led on a leash.

he researchers identified a third pig in this image. Evans et al

he researchers identified a third pig in this image. Evans et al

This weird painting shows a pig being dunked in water. Evans et al

This weird painting shows a pig being dunked in water. Evans et al

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