Industrial computed tomography and artifacts that can be seen in museums — is that possible? Sure they do! We explain in which cases industrial computed tomography is used for museum collections and in archaeology.
Artifacts: Why is industrial computed tomography being used on them?
Taking a non-destructive look inside objects — that’s exactly what industrial computed tomography makes possible. This is very useful for archaeologists and research teams, because uncovering and cleaning archaeological artifacts can take many months. In addition to the long period of time required to uncover valuable ancient objects, there is also the risk that the artifacts or their contents (such as necklaces, amulets) will be damaged or crumble during this process. Therefore, out of an abundance of caution, the artifacts — often hoard finds — are not disassembled, but are transported, including the surrounding soil, into the CT scanner and scanned non-destructively.
Several artefacts have already been scanned at Microvista for better analysis, including many archaeological finds made of metal from the Saxony-Anhalt State Office for the Preservation of Monuments and Archaeology. Each time, the CT scans were able to provide new insights into the artefacts.
In addition, the virtual processing of artefacts in the form of a hologram is possible using industrial computer tomography. In this way, found objects can be animated for museum visitors and their function can be experienced.
All in all, industrial computed tomography can contribute to a more comprehensive understanding of ancient finds, which helps to better understand past cultures, their way of life as well as their crafts. Industrial CT scans can be used to create three-dimensional models of objects, showing their internal structures, material composition and manufacturing techniques. For example, the CT images of ancient ceramic vessels can reveal what type of pottery technique was used and whether there were any repairs. This allows us to infer the time period when the vessel was made. In addition, the research teams gain an important indication of the authenticity of the artefact in this way, as forgeries can be quickly unmasked.
We have picked out two more examples where industrial computed tomography has helped to gain new insights into archaeological finds:
In Yorkshire, UK, for example, a lumped vessel containing ancient coins dating back to the 2nd century was found. The use of CT X‑rays enabled the research team to identify and analyze the coins within a few days. The industrial CT scan even revealed inscriptions as well as the heads of Roman rulers.
Long-exhibited mummies in Egypt were also scanned, in which valuable treasures were found. The so-called “golden boy”, dating back to 330 BC, was discovered in Upper Egypt as early as 1916 and was on display in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo until the CT scans. It was discovered that the boy, who was probably 15 years old, was adorned with 49 amulets to protect him during his journey to the afterlife — according to the beliefs of the ancient Egyptians.
What are the advantages of an industrial mobile CT for obtaining knowledge about artifacts?
The use of an industrial CT offers archaeological teams time savings and a high information gain about the scanned artifact. But the conventional CT scan also carries risks: The valuable finds — often fragile — must be very specially protected in order to be transported to the CT. In addition to this great logistical effort, high insurance sums are also incurred to protect the museum piece. In most cases, the complex transport is accompanied by an experienced person who can give the CT experts instructions on how to handle the artifact so that no damage occurs. This incurs additional travel costs.
Microvista has now developed a solution that counteracts all these risks and ensures a fast, safe and cost-effective CT scan: With the mobile CT system SCANEXPRESS, objects are scanned on site at the customer’s premises. The rental period of the mobile CT is flexible — the minimum rental period is one month. The container in which the CT system is located is driven to the desired location by truck and is so spacious that valuable objects can be transported in safely and securely. A radiation protection area inside the container is also provided.
After each inspection, there is a real-time evaluation with AI and an automatic report that provides direct information about the condition of the artifact.
Several artifacts have already been X‑rayed at Microvista for better analysis, including many metal archaeological finds from the Saxony-Anhalt State Office for the Preservation of Monuments and Archaeology. Each time, the industrial CT scans have been able to provide new insights into the artifacts.
In addition, the virtual processing of artifacts in the form of a hologram is possible using industrial computed tomography. In this way, found objects can be animated for museum visitors and their function can be experienced and experienced.
Overall, industrial computed tomography can help to gain a more comprehensive understanding of ancient finds, which helps to better understand past cultures, their way of life as well as their crafts. Industrial CT scans can be used to create three-dimensional models of objects that show their internal structures, material composition, and manufacturing techniques. For example, industrial CT scans of ancient ceramic vessels can reveal what type of pottery technique was used and whether repairs were present. This suggests the time period when the vessel was made. In addition, research teams gain an important indication of the authenticity of the artifact in this way, as forgeries can be quickly revealed.
Advantages of the SCANEXPRESS for museums:
We have summarized how the mobile CT system works in this video: SCANEXPRESS — How does the mobile CT work? | Microvista
Are you interested in using the SCANEXPRESS or would you like to ask our team some questions? Here you can find our contact persons: Contact for NDT with industrial CT | Microvista