The Kazakl'i-yatkan wall paintings: documenting the procession
The recording of in situ wall paintings included a 1:20 plan of the fragments, 1:1 tracings on Melinex and digital photography. A grid of 50 x 50cm squares was set up over the in situ paintings. The grid frame was set up using nails and a laser light level (far right). The level was critical in creating straight lines across the uneven wall surface. Points were fixed every 50cm along the frame (measured by hand using a tape measure). The grid was then created by running string between opposite points although the unevenness of the wall caused slight distortion of the string lines. Interstices of the grid were surveyed so as to allow for accurate reconstruction using AutoCad. Each 50 x 50cm square (right, and below) had a unique grid reference number consisting of a letter (row location) and number (column location). Photographs and 1:1 overlay tracings (right) of each section were taken and labeled with this grid reference number. In this way any area of the painting can be pinpointed and examined in detail using both the digital images and the overlay.
In order to reconstruct the scene it was necessary to digitize the in-field tracings of the paintings. The tracings were scanned and traced at 1:1 using Adobe Illustrator and a drawing tablet. The drawings were then fitted together by matching the interstices of the grid squares, which had been clearly marked on the tracings.
Definition of pigments at this stage remains preliminary. Click here to see more about pigment analysis. Generic colours were used in the digitization process as a means of highlighting the fact that different colours were used on the original painting. It may be possible to define the original colours more exactly after further analysis.
The photographs of the individual frames of the grid can be digitally stitched together as accurately as possible and then the entire tracing of the scene overlaid on this. Although it is impossible to perfectly match the grid photos because of issues of perspective and distance, this process will facilitate a more exact reconstruction of the scene, matching lines and pigments. The photos provide an original record of the paintings and the means to completely digitally reconstruct the in situ paintings. Given that the paintings have been cut from the wall, this methodology provides a crucial record.
Corrections to the preliminary reconstruction of the in situ paintings at Kazakl'i-yatkan will be made when the paintings have been fully cleaned and conserved, a process that is expected to take several years, given the extent of preserved paintings. It is hoped that excavation of the western half of the corridor, in front of where the in situ paintings were found, will reveal further fragments that will facilitate a more complete reconstruction of the procession scene.