APAC at the 2nd International Congress on Archaeological Sciences in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Middle East

APAC team will present various talks at the 2nd International Congress on Archaeological Sciences in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Middle East: 

Svetlana Gasanova, Nikolas Bakirtzis, Dominique Levif-Martos - ''Giovanni Baronzio's 'Crucifixion': Analytical Approaches and Art Historical Considerations'': The small panel of the ‘Crucifixion’ attributed to Giovanni (da Rimini) Baronzio is a perfect example of the artistic achievements of the so-called School of Rimini. Baronzio, active between 1320 and 1350, was one of the most important painters of a group of artists working in Rimini during the first half of the 14th-century whose work was heavily influenced by the work of Giotto di Bondone (1267-1337), characterized by Gothic and Byzantine influences. The panel, with an estimated date in the end of the 1320s, represents a popular iconographic theme during this period and was painted in tempera and gold on wood. Non-invasive analytical approaches have revealed a rich history of interventions, re-touching and restorations, which allows for some interesting observations and considerations in regard to the work’s history. The applied analytical methods and the related art historical observations and interpretations, performed at the Andreas Pittas Art Characterization Laboratories (APAC Labs) of STARC at the Cyprus Institute will be the focus of the present paper. In order to avoid micro-sampling, a non-invasive methodological approach integrating spectroscopic (µX-Ray Fluorescence spectroscopy, Fiber Optic Reflectance Spectroscopy, Fourier Transform Infrared spectroscopy), imaging (UV, X-Ray Radiography, Infrared Reflectography) and digital microscopy techniques was applied. This study aimed at the identification of the work’s original materials and techniques, its conservation state and the complex history of interventions and restorations. Results showed that while original materials of the painting conform with those used by artists in 14th century Renaissance Italy there are multiple later interventions both as small-scale inpainting as well as extensive overpainting of various parts of the original Crucifixion composition. Careful consideration of these interventions can shed light to aspects of the panel’s history of preservation as well as on issues of stylistic or compositional ‘corrections’- always an interesting dimension of the changing perceptions of works of art through time.

Dante Abate -''Documentation of paintings restoration through photogrammetry and change detection algorithms'': The philosophical and theoretical foundations of the Theory of Restoration, envisioned by Cesare Brandi in 1975, are established around clear and straightforward guidelines on what is ethically acceptable, and unacceptable, in conservation. Specifically, the Italian scholar advocates for the complete reversibility of restoration work and respect for the history of an artwork. Indeed, according to these concepts, all interventions should be fully reversible so to return the object to its initial conditions without any damage. Bearing in mind these assumptions, a detailed documentation of all the steps of the conservation process, and the possibility to retrieve them a-posteriori, must be considered essential. This concept especially applies when dealing with paintings restoration characterized by fine and small details. In recent years, the tendency is to favor minimal invasive interventions ranging from consolidation actions, cleaning samples, and colors retouching. Materials change more or less conspicuously over time according to their consistency and the intensity of the changing factors. Icons do not make an exception to this rule. This process affects the icon’s whole structure: the support, the painting itself and the varnish coating. This paper investigates the performance of change detection algorithms, developed in the remote sensing domain, and, in the framework of this research applied at a microscale (paintings). Each phase of the restoration process is documented exploiting a multi-epoch image acquisition. A monitoring methodology coupled with photogrammetry and 3D shape analysis is tested and described. It is anticipated that the proposed innovative use of change detection techniques can be applied to different kinds of painted surfaces. An icon, today preserved at the Byzantine Museum Makarios III Foundation in Nicosia and restored by the Department of Antiquities of Cyprus labs, has been used as a case study. 

Dante Abate, Marina Faka, Charalambos Ioannou, George Artopoulos, Nikolas Bakirtzis, Sorin Hermon, Odile Daune-Le Brun - ''From Analogue to Digital: 40 years of archaeological documentation and management at the Neolithic UNESCO World Heritage site of Choirokitia (Cyprus)'': The presentation introduces research challenges of a collaborative project aiming at integrating recent 3D documentation of architectural remains at the prehistoric site of Choirokoitia (Cyprus) with earlier, analogue and digital data obtained during the site’s more than 40 years history of excavations and multi-disciplinary research (archaeology, bioarchaeology, geology). The project, led by The Cyprus Institute in collaboration with the CNRS archaeological team, the Department of Antiquities of Cyprus and the National Center for Supercomputing Applications of the University of Illinois, aims at creating a virtual environment for the visual representation of diachronic and temporal events at Choirokoitia, based on the huge amount of multidisciplinary data collected at the site, to be proposed for integration within the site’s management masterplan. Beyond the complexity of 3D data acquisition, due to extension of excavated areas and intricate remains (buildings overlaps, collapses, fragments of walls, features), another challenge is posed by the digital data fusion process, constantly corroborating digital with analogue material, crucial for the presentation of the development of excavations and the gradual exposure of remains. The final 3D model will be subdivided in blocks according to types of processed data, details of geometric and geodetic information and richness of metadata. The site has been first investigated between 1936 - 1946 by P. Dikaios (Curator of the Cyprus Museum) and later between 1976 - 2009 by the French Archaeological Mission at Choirokoitia (Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - Ministry of Foreign Affairs). Its extensive excavations and consequent multidisciplinary research revealed a complex and dynamic history. Due to its exceptional preservation and contribution to the knowledge on the Neolithic period, its culture and people, the site was included to the UNESCO World Heritage Sites List in 1998; a comprehensive management masterplan was submitted to the relevant authorities.

Valentina Vassallo, Andreas Scalas, Michela Mortara, Sorin Hermon - "3D Geometric descriptors for the study of Cypriot coroplastic production":This paper will present a 3D digital methodology developed to support the archaeological research and its application to a Cypriot case-study, the small terracotta figurines of the Ayia Irini sanctuary (Gjerstad et al. 1935). Main aim of the research is to identify production aspects and types based on a 3D digital approach. Particularly, the 3D geometry comparison of the archaeological artefacts and their constituent features addresses aspects of manufacture and production, presence of rules, standards, identification and use of same moulds, possibly detecting specific artisans’ hands (Vassallo 2016, Vassallo 2017). Several Cypriot archaeological collections excavated in the past suffer from being dispersed in various countries and now conserved in different museums, making their holistic study difficult. Besides, these collections belong to old excavations, and therefore, they were studied within an analogic framework. The revision of the case study material and the above-mentioned issues brought to the identification of the following challenges: 1. How to study and compare artefacts belonging to the same assemblage but physically distant because dispersed in different museums? 2. How to support the traditional typo-technological (and stylistic) study of artefacts on the base of measurable and quantifiable criteria? The methodology developed for this study and the technological solutions adopted to solve the archaeological questions related to the interpretation of the material production is based on the integration of the geometric and the semantic aspects. Specifically, the geometric investigation is based on the 3D digital reproduction of the artefacts and the comparison of the 3D shapes through computer vision (Scalas et al. 2018). Once geometric descriptors (i.e., measures) based on chaineopératoire analysis are defined (e.g., symmetry, circularity, straightness), the 3D artefacts are semiautomatically analysed according to those measures. As a result, the material can be typologically classified according to measurable criteria, lowering the uncertainty of human scrutiny. The 3D digital approach can support the archaeological method and help to express the reliability of research, quantifying the uncertainty of assertions and enlarging the frontiers of the traditional archaeology.

Image 1