Documenting the UNESCO Troodos Painted Churches

Sunday, July 23, 2017

During July of 2017 a joint team from the University of Southern California (USC), The Cyprus Institute (CyI) with the participation of the University of Illinois (UIUC) applied a range of imaging techniques to document the unique interiors of the Troodos Painted Churches, included in the UNESCO World Heritage list.

This is a collaborative effort between USC’s West Semitic Project, CyI’s Science and Technology in Archaeology Research Center (STARC) with the participation of UIUC’s National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) and the support of the Cyprus Department of Antiquities. Specifically, USC’s team, led by Prof. Bruce Zuckerman, Marilyn Lundberg Melzian, Ken Zuckerman and with the participation of USC students Alleluia Tyus and Thomas Zhang, conducted systematic imaging fieldwork utilizing the advanced panoramic capacity of PANOSCAN cameras. They also collaborated with STARC’s Nikolas Bakirtzis, Ropertos Georgiou, Avgoustinos Avgousti and Thanasis Koutoupas to capture Reflectance Transformation Imaging pictures of key wall paintings as well as to selectively apply spectral photography on monuments with successive layers of fresco decoration. NCSA/UIUC-CYI/STARC Postdoc, Mia Trentin participated in the project with a particular focus in the study of graffiti on the painted surfaces of the Troodos churches.

The continuation and completion of fieldwork is expected to result in a DIOPTRA-based collaborative digital repository of specialized images, which can support and enhance the Department of Antiquities’ efforts in the management of the UNESCO churches and the effective dissemination of their artistic wealth.