Carved in Stone: Field Trials of Virtual Reflectance Transformation Imaging (V-RTI) in Classical Telmessos (Fethiye)

Greaves A. M., Duffy S., Peterson J. R., TEKOĞLU Ş. R., Hirt A.

JOURNAL OF FIELD ARCHAEOLOGY, vol.45, no.7, pp.542-555, 2020 (AHCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 45 Issue: 7
  • Publication Date: 2020
  • Doi Number: 10.1080/00934690.2020.1804135
  • Journal Indexes: Arts and Humanities Citation Index (AHCI), Scopus, Academic Search Premier, FRANCIS, IBZ Online, International Bibliography of Social Sciences, L'Année philologique, Anthropological Literature, Art Abstracts, Art Index, Art Source, Humanities Abstracts, Index Islamicus, MLA - Modern Language Association Database, Old Testament Abstracts Online, DIALNET
  • Page Numbers: pp.542-555
  • Keywords: Turkey, epigraphy, archaeology, conservation, digital heritage, Structure from Motion, Virtual Reality, PHOTOGRAMMETRY, ART
  • Dokuz Eylül University Affiliated: Yes


Virtual Reflectance Transformation Imaging (V-RTI) is a hybrid method that combines 3D, Virtual Reality (VR) and 2D+ technologies into a rapid, lightweight, and user-friendly method of recording archaeological monuments in the field. The resultant image file can be interactively lit from various positions to highlight surface texture and detail not generally visible to the naked eye. In this article, we describe the V-RTI method and critically compare it to the current standard Highlight (H-RTI) method. We present results of a field trial of V-RTI in a challenging urban environment that yielded a new inscription, new readings, and epigraphic palimpsests that significantly change our understanding of the ancient Lycian city of Telmessos. We conclude that V-RTI is a valuable new tool for recording at-risk heritage worldwide and should be considered a default recording tool for field survey and conservation for many different classes of field monument.