This research project has two aims. The first is to document the collection of ship graffiti while comparing the benefits and drawbacks of different methods of digital documentation. These methods are photogrammetry, RTI (Reflectance Transformation Imaging) and laser scanning. Documenting the graffiti is important because they are in a very fragile state. Moreover, the fast and accurate documentation of the graffiti is particularly relevant in the pandemic period. It is a fact that fast and accurate documentation is a necessity in research frameworks of this past century. Yet the conditions of this pandemic period limiting the flexibility on field research emphasized the importance of fast documentation and post-fieldwork analysis from an unexpected perspective.
Current research results suggest that the number of graffiti is over hundred and the assemblage consists of both sailing and oared vessels in various sizes and riggings, and produced with various levels of detail. Equally, the conditions of this section of the mosque makes the documentation of the graffiti particularly complex – without photographic lights, the space is very dark and one cannot even see the frescos and the graffiti. Some individuals in the village were unaware of the graffiti’s presence. Furthermore, the space is cramped with a panel that separates the women’s section from the main hall. The comparative analysis of photogrammetry, RTI, and laser scanning will thus provide important guidance for future efforts on similar collections in similar environments.
This research continues and should finish in the next 12 months. Now that the documentation process is completed, the next steps include the analysis of the graffiti and a deconstruction of the social context of their creation: Does the local community retain a history of these images and their purposes? Why, apparently, did only women in the community make these images? Are these graffiti emblematic of a larger pattern within the Aegean region?