From the Ground Up: A Comparative Analysis of Virtual Reflectance Transformation Imaging and Traditional RTI in the Context of Cemetery Conservation




Bell, Cooper

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University of Victoria


Reflectance Transformation Imaging (RTI) is widely used in archaeology to reveal eroded inscriptions invisible to the naked eye but falls short in providing metric data critical for monument preservation. This project investigates Virtual RTI (vRTI), a novel approach that marries RTI's detailed imaging with the metric precision of 3D scanning, offering the best of both worlds. I compared vRTI's effectiveness against traditional RTI in uncovering inscriptions and potential for long-term preservation. Findings indicate that vRTI delivers on its promises, but that widespread adoption of vRTI is hindered by high costs, extensive processing requirements, and the technical complexity of 3D modeling, posing significant challenges for many institutions. This research underscores the transformative promise of vRTI while acknowledging the realities of its implementation, allowing traditional RTI to retain its high status in the field of cemetery conservation.



RTI, SLS, vRTI, Cemetery, Monument Preservation