The Penn Museum, the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology at the University of Pennsylvania, has an interesting new exhibit. The artworks are nothing more than enlarged images of ancient artifacts. They look like completely thought out works, but are natural patterns of numerous materials used in the works of the past.
The featured image in this text, for example, looks very much like urban art, graffiti. But it is actually the tile application of a pottery from Gordion, Turkey. Gordion served as the capital of Phrygia. Phrygia's period of greatest prosperity occurred between 1200 and 700 B.C.E. The kingdom participated, for example, in the Trojan War. But they declined when they were at the mercy of the Persians; fromAlexander the Great; of the Romans and the Byzantines, successively.
The exhibition is called Invisible Beauty: The Art of Archaeological Science , or Invisible Beauty: The Art of Archaeological Science The Penn Museum opened the exhibition last Saturday (16).
"Many people are familiar with excavations, but are usually not familiar with what happens in laboratories, which are usually not accessible to the general public," Dr. Marie-Claude Boileau, co-curator of Invisible Beauty, said in a statement. "This exhibition is like a behind-the-scenes experience for visitors. It shows what we see when we look into the microscope, andwith this exhibition we are sharing with everyone".
Enlarged images of ancient artifacts
But they don't just put the materials under a microscope and photograph them. It's actually much more complex, and the researchers use cutting-edge technologies to magnify the images to that level of detail and artistic flair. They primarily use infrared light, x-rays, magnetic gradiometry, and extremely powerful microscopes.
However, there is not a solely artistic application for the 25 enlarged images. That, in fact, was a side effect.
A pottery pot in the Solomon Islands (Penn Museum).
X-rays, magnetic gradiometry and other technologies therefore allow them to look at things below ground without the trouble of digging them up, and without risking damaging anything. In this way, they can study a little beyond the ordinary view of objects. They then see the textures of materials, the mixtures and various other technical details.
All this allows us to study the way of life and health of the population, the use, the trade used for the artifacts and even the situation of the environment at the time. Many materials have a certain "memory", and absorb many details about their surroundings, at the time they were exposed.
For example, researchers were able to see thin layers of a silvery metal surrounding the delicate silk threads of a 17th century Persian fabric. In a needle found in Cyprus, they were able to model the way the craftsman used it by its corrosion. In a clay sample from Thailand, they found a single-celled organism after magnifying it 26,000 times.
See the images
There are a total of 25 enlarged images of ancient artifacts that you can access by clicking here. Some of them can be found below:
Burnt rice grains in search of evidence of fermentation.(Penn Museum).
Wear on the teeth of a pig in Hotu, Iran, allows scientists to understand the food given to animals at the time (Penn Museum).
Details of a 200-year-old moccasin made by a Native American.