Hidden paintings revealed at Angkor Wat
|A technique called decorrelation stretch analysis, which exaggerates subtle color |
differences, revealed images like this one showing two elephants
facing each other [Credit: Antiquity, Tan et al]
Previously used to highlight subtle color differences in images of the martian landscape taken by NASA’s Opportunity rover, this type of analysis can reveal colors too faint or faded to be seen with the naked eye.
When the researchers applied it to their photos of Angkor Wat, they found more than 200 images of boats, deities, buildings, and animals—like the elephants above (inset)—drawn on the walls throughout the temple, they report today in Antiquity.
But one group of carefully drawn scenes, located in the highest tier of one of Angkor Wat’s towers, might be the remains of a 16th century restoration program, when the complex was transformed from a Hindu temple into a Buddhist shrine.
The previously lost images could give archaeologists new insight into this little-known period in Cambodia’s history.
Author: Lizzie Wade | Source: Science AAAS [May 27, 2014]