Linear B tablets as never before seen
The Ashmolean Museum of the University of Oxford has recently launched a website on the “Sir Arthur Evans Archive” providing a first, basic, overview of its holdings. Although not to item level, the website is a welcome addition and promises to be a very useful tool for Aegean Archaeology (especially for those interested in Minoan archaeology and its history). The website is based on the work of Dr. Yannis Galanakis (formerly the curator for the Bronze Age Aegean collections and the Sir Arthur Evans archive at the Ashmolean and currently Lecturer in Aegean Archaeology at the University of Cambridge). One of the innovations of the website, instigated by Dr Galanakis in collaboration with Oxford’s RTI team (Dr Jacob Dahl, Klaus Wagensonner and Nicholas Reid), is the digitization of the museum’s small, but representative, Linear B collection from Knossos. The technology applied (RTI: Reflectance Transformation Imaging) allows for the best possible reading of these tablets online as it were under a completely new light:
With the RTIViewer (free to download – following instructions in the webpage given above), you can access the Linear B photographs by cutting and pasting the url into the application (using the globe and folder icon to the right of the main screen of the RTIViewer). The images can be enlarged to magnificent effect and the lighting changed to make readings clearer and to see fingerprints and erasures. This resource should prove extremely useful for teaching and this form of visualisation may pave the way for future research in the field.