During the Projects on Parade Poster Session at the 2014 ASOR Annual Meeting, Brown University Ph.D. student, Jennifer Thum, was busy discussing her poster with the many interested attendees. Her poster, “A Rediscovery with RTI: Reading an Old Kingdom Relief in the Haffenreffer Museum, Brown University,” covered her research and the origin of an overlooked limestone block at the Haffenreffer Museum storage facility in Bristol, Rhode Island. Take a look at Thum’s poster, as she describes her work in the short video below.
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For almost twenty years, a limestone block from a private tomb sat quietly in the Haffenreffer Museum storage facility in Bristol, Rhode Island. The block is irreparably damaged in some areas and badly worn throughout. Owing to its condition, nobody attempted to research or read it—because it was assumed that nobody could.
This paper presents the contents of the block as revealed through Reflectance Transformation Imaging (RTI) and digital epigraphy. The author applied these technologies as part of a proctorship at the Haffenreffer Museum and a digital epigraphy class at Harvard University. The technical study of this object is complimented by an investigation into its provenance and its modern history as an artifact, which are both unclear. RTI of the block confirmed that it is from the Fifth or Sixth Dynasty, and revealed that it consists of two registers: one with a procession of offering bearers, the other with a butchering scene and accompanying text. A preliminary reading is presented for the inscriptions, along with speculation about the origins of the object. The block came to the museum through two high-profile donors associated with the Middle East peace process in the 1970s.
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