A Digital Investigation Manifesting use of Geometric Stencils for the Drawing of Akrotiri Thera Prehistoric Wall Paintings

A Digital Investigation Manifesting use of Geometric Stencils for the Drawing of Akrotiri Thera Prehistoric Wall Paintings

Panayiotis Rousospoulos (Technological Educational institute of Chalkis, Greece), Dimitris Arabadjis (National Technical University of Athens, Greece), Mihalis Exarhos (National Technical University of Athens, Greece), Michail Panagopoulos (Ionian University, Greece), Georgios Galanopoulos (National Technical University of Athens, Greece), Afroditi Pantazi (National Technical University of Athens, Greece) and Constantin Papaodysseus (National Technical University of Athens, Greece)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60960-786-9.ch003
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Abstract

The present chapter deals with the problem of determining the method used to draw several celebrated and beautiful wall-paintings belonging to the Late Bronze Age (c. 1630 B.C.), that were excavated at Akrotiri, Thera, Hellas (Greece). First, the authors process the wall paintings’ digital images in order to extract the contour of their main thematic entities. Subsequently, a number of fundamental definitions are given and the main hypothesis is stated, namely that geometrical stencils were used for the drawing of the considered wall paintings. A first estimation of the probable one stoke parts of the contour is undertaken, based on curvature considerations and minimization of corresponding error functions. Next, they select families of geometrical curves as potential prototypes of the employed stencils. The selection is based on archaeological and historical criteria. A novel exhaustive curve fitting method is introduced that offers unambiguously optimal matching of two digital curves. Taking into consideration the previous stages, the exact values of the stencils’ parameters are determined. Finally, the hypothesis that stencils were used for the drawing of the considered wall paintings is supported substantially by a visual representation of the one stroke parts together with the corresponding stencil segments that generated them.
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The Main Scope Of The Research Presented In This Chapter: A Brief Summary Of The Introduced Methodology

A Set of Fundamental Conjectures

A careful inspection of various wall paintings unearthed at Akrotiri, Thera, reveals that the contour lines of the various drawn figures manifest a noticeable stability and a hidden repeatability. In other words, the authors, have noticed that certain parts of contour lines on the wall paintings manifest a considerable similarity with other contour parts having even a completely different orientation on the wall, different position and radically different thematic content. These observations suggested the idea to the authors that guides/stencils might have been used circa 1620 B.C. y the artist(s) of the era, in order to draw the wall paintings.

In addition, the experience of the authors on geometric figures generated the suspicion that a number of connected-contiguous parts of the contour may correspond to specific geometric entities. Thus, the authors decided to check the aforementioned conjectures in a rigorous manner by applying methods from Mathematics, Digital Image Processing and Pattern Recognition. In this attempt the authors realized the necessity to develop novel methods and tools in order to test the conjectures in a strict manner.(Papaodysseus et al. 2006, Panagopoulos et al. 2004, Papaodysseus et al. 2008, Papaodysseus et al. 2008, Papaodysseus et al. 2006, Papaodysseus et al. 2005, Fragoulis et al. 2005).

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