23 June 2010

Hi-Tech Saints

This is amazing. Using new laser technology restorers working in the catacombs of Rome have discovered and restored icon paintings of Sts Peter and Paul, and several others. These are the oldest such icons yet discovered dating from around AD 375 or so.

For me, here is the amazing part, using the lasers to burn through several inches of calcium deposits without damaging the paintings:
Using the laser technique, restorers were able to sear off all the deposits by setting the laser to burn only on the white of the calcium carbonate; the laser's heat stopped when it reached a different color. Researchers then easily chipped off the seared material, revealing the brilliant ochre, black, green and yellow underneath, Mazzei said.

We will probably never invent a time machine, but short of that this will do. I can't wait to see what we can do ten or twenty years from now.

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