Orestis Kourakis
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Multispectral photography UV/ IR

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Multispectral photography UV/ IR

Exceeding the visible spectrum

Derveni's Papyrus is the oldest readable manuscript ever found in Europe and is Greece's only item in the UNESCO Memory of the World Register. The fact that we can today read excerpts from one of the most valuable manuscripts of antiquity would not have been possible without multi-spectral photography.

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Derveni papyrus panoramic UV
Derveni papyrus panoramic visible
What is Multispectral photography

Multispectral photography records the invisible spectrum of light. Through this technique we are able to see under-paintings beneath paintings or frescoes, detect damage or even traces of color that have almost disappeared via the visible spectrum.

Choosing the most appropriate technique - emission spectrum and recording spectrum - for each object is a complex process that depends on the object itself, its substance, condition, dating, and the desired result.

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The technique

To create such a photograph, I use a multi-spectral camera as well as special filters to isolate the spectrum of invisible light into many sub-zones to more accurately detect information. Ultra-high-power ultraviolet lamps are also available for studying ultraviolet information as well as phosphorescence of the object.

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