RTI (Reflectance Transformation Imaging) Dome Campaign – Successful!

Dear Balkan Heritage friends,

We are thrilled to announce that the fundraising campaign to build a Reflectance Transformation Imaging (RTI) dome was successful and we have raised the needed 4000 Euro (approximately 4530 USD). We are grateful to all of our alumni and supporters from around the world that helped us raise the amount in order to support the protection and conservation of Balkan cultural heritage!

Below you can learn more about  the RTI Dome Building Campaign: 

RTI (Reflectance Transformation Imaging) is a digital photographic technique that allows the user to interactively view an object under different lighting conditions and to change the appearance of the images to highlight inscriptions and other surface details that are not visible to the naked eye. In 2012, Alexander Gabov (former vice president of the Canadian Association of Conservation of Cultural Property) began including the RTI documentation technique in Balkan Heritage Field School (BHFS) projects. In 2014 he transferred the instruction and fieldwork to Dr. George Bevan from Queen’s University, Canada. In 2016, the RTI instruction team was joined by Dr. Jacqueline Christmas and Dr. Judith Bannerman from the University of Exeter, UK. 

Under the team’s guidance, the BHFS students have captured inscriptions and graffiti at a number of post-medieval churches in western Bulgaria. They have also applied it to hundreds of small artifacts such as coins, pottery shards with graffiti and other objects with imprinted images from the ancient Greek emporion Pistiros and the Roman city of Stobi. This technology also allowed for the reading of the Pistiros and Balsha inscriptions (Bulgaria).

In 2018, Dr. Christmas and Dr. Bannerman offered to develop an experimental project: to build and develop a portable RTI dome. The device will dramatically improve the capture process, reducing the time from 15-20 minutes to 70 seconds for an artifact. In addition to providing quality training to BHFS participants, the Foundation will be able to offer this service to museums in the Balkans. The RTI dome can be used for precise and detailed photographic documentation of museum collections and thus help in protecting them against theft and illegal trafficking.