During the 2016 season, the team began to record the texts and images in both of the painted tombs using Digital Epigraphy. This will allow the production of epigraphic drawings.
The imaging programme that we have instigated is an excellent tool for conservation and study purposes. One of the most challenging aspects of understanding the decorative programme in the tombs is the sometimes faint traces that remain of the paint. The epigraphic process helps us to understand the different layers of painting involved in creating the designs.
The epigraphic process begins with orthographically rectified photographs, that are taken parallel to the surface of the tomb wall. The images are opened within the Photoshop programme, and layers are created for each phase of the original painting process that the artist can identify. In direct observation of the tomb wall, the artist then draws over the top of the painted images, layer by layer. The photographic image behind the traced epigraphic image can finally be removed, leaving just the epigraphic drawing.
The painstaking observation of the tomb walls, in combination with the high resolution photography allows a deeper knowledge of the processes involved in creating the original tomb texts and images. It is also possible to observe the original alterations and corrections to the images and texts.
The 2016 season began the epigraphic survey of the tomb of Tanwetamani, and in 2017, we will complete this work in Qalhata’s tomb.