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More than meets the eye: Spectral Imaging and its applications to historical research

4:00pm-4:45pm on Friday 26 March

Times shown are in GMT (UTC +0) up to the 27th March. For events on or after 28th March times are in BST (UTC +1).

Professor Haida Liang from Nottingham Trent University discusses spectral imaging; a scientific technique that Cambridge University Library used in a multidisciplinary project to reveal the erased writing in an ancient palimpsest of the New Testament. Join this talk to find out the science behind this technique and how it is being applied to historical projects, from libraries to archaeological sites.

Spectral imaging, a technique originally used in astronomy and remote sensing, has been increasingly adopted in the study of objects and sites of historical value. It typically collects millions of reflectance spectra simultaneously, allowing the material composition to be distinguished or identified. Advanced data science methods are applied to reveal faded or erased writings and drawings, and to efficiently classify the materials for identification.

Professor Liang will demonstrate how non-invasive spectral imaging, and the automated analysis of the data, can enable fascinating discoveries, facilitate the study of large collections or even survey whole archaeological sites to further historical research.

About the speaker: Haida Liang is Professor of Physics, Head of the Imaging and Sensing for Archaeology, Art History and Conservation (ISAAC) Lab and Director of Imaging, Materials and Engineering Centre at Nottingham Trent University.

Booking/Registration is: REQUIRED

For any queries relating to this event, please contact Francesca Harper, Public Programming & Events Coordinator at Cambridge University Library, by emailing

Additional Information

Age: Adults
Timing: Live Stream
Cost: Free
Theme: Explore

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