Comparing the effectiveness of hyperspectral imaging and Raman spectroscopy: a case study on Armenian manuscripts

Heritage Science. 2018;6(1):1-15 DOI 10.1186/s40494-018-0206-1


Journal Homepage

Journal Title: Heritage Science

ISSN: 2050-7445 (Online)

Publisher: SpringerOpen

LCC Subject Category: Fine Arts | Science: Chemistry: Analytical chemistry

Country of publisher: United Kingdom

Language of fulltext: English

Full-text formats available: PDF, HTML, ePUB



Ian J. Maybury (School of Geography and the Environment, Oxford University Centre for the Environment, University of Oxford)

David Howell (Weston Library)

Melissa Terras (College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Edinburgh)

Heather Viles (School of Geography and the Environment, Oxford University Centre for the Environment, University of Oxford)


Blind peer review

Editorial Board

Instructions for authors

Time From Submission to Publication: 19 weeks


Abstract | Full Text

Abstract There is great practical and scholarly interest in the identification of pigments in works of art. This paper compares the effectiveness of the widely used Raman Spectroscopy (RS), with hyperspectral imaging (HSI), a reflectance imaging technique, to evaluate the reliability of HSI for the identification of pigments in historic works of art and to ascertain if there are any benefits from using HSI or a combination of both. We undertook a case study based on six Armenian illuminated manuscripts (eleventh–eighteenth centuries CE) in the Bodleian Library, University of Oxford. RS, and HSI (380–1000 nm) were both used to analyse the same 10 folios, with the data then used to test the accuracy and efficiency of HSI against the known results from RS using reflectance spectra reference databases compiled by us for the project. HSI over the wavelength range 380–1000 nm agreed with RS at best 93% of the time, and performance was enhanced using the SFF algorithm and by using a database with many similarities to the articles under analysis. HSI is significantly quicker at scanning large areas, and can be used alongside RS to identify and map large areas of pigment more efficiently than RS alone. HSI therefore has potential for improving the speed of pigment identification across manuscript folios and artwork but must be used in conjunction with a technique such as RS.