Archaeological applications of polynomial texture mapping: analysis, conservation and representation

Graeme Earl, Kirk Martinez, Tom Malzbender

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

110 Citations (Scopus)


Polynomial Texture Mapping is an image capture and processing technique that was developed by HP Labs in 2000. It enables the recording and representation of subtle surface details using a standard digital camera and lighting, and software that is free for non-commercial use. Cultural heritage applications have been associated with the technology from its earliest stages, including examples in areas such as cuneiform, numismatics, rock art, lithics and Byzantine art. The paper begins by outlining the technical principles involved. It then brings together the extant work in the field. Through examples developed by the University of Southampton in partnership with a range of UK and international bodies it demonstrates the benefits of the technology in the areas of archaeological analysis, conservation and representation. Finally it considers the future possibilities of this technology and ongoing developments.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2040-2050
Number of pages11
Issue number8
Early online date24 Mar 2010
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2010


  • Polynomial texture mapping
  • PTM
  • RTI
  • Imaging
  • Scanning
  • Surface recording
  • Conservation
  • Computer graphics


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