Introduction Getting started

The use of the term multimodalities is fairly self-explanatory when applied to paleoimag-ing. The term simply means using more than one imaging modality to derive the most usable data in an attempt to make accurate interpretations regarding past peoples and their cultures. Using the multimodal imaging approach in anthropology and archaeology is much like gathering evidence for a forensic case. The more evidence you have to support the suppositions as they relate to the case, the stronger the case. Unfortunately, no single imaging modality can give you all the information you need. In fact, relying on a single imaging modality may increase the incidence of misinterpretation.

As is the case with all research, any new data acquired should give rise to many more questions. In paleoimaging, general questions arise from a data point derived from a single imaging modality and may include the following: How can we confirm what we think we are seeing? How can we use additional imaging to better inform our interpretations? Sometimes, the answer is the reapplication of that imaging mode, perhaps from a new projection angle. In other cases, the answer lies in using additional imaging methods to clarify and confirm the original data. Although more advanced imaging, such as computed tomography, is a useful approach to additional data collection, often conditions in field settings and the condition of human mummified remains or artifacts limits the transportation possibilities and, thereby, the application of additional imaging modes. Field settings often present situations in which there are limited resources. In these cases, the creativity of the paleoimaging team comes into play. Skilled paleoimagers who can apply the constructs of critical thinking, using what resources is available, are often able to collect additional applicable data that assist in the interpretation of the collected data. Also, using portable and complementary imaging modalities in the field can generate a tremendous amount of data for those interpretations.

The paleoimaging multimodalities that have proved useful in anthropological and archaeological research are addressed in the first section of this book. These modalities include photographic techniques; conventional radiography; computerized imaging, such as computed radiography, direct radiography, computed tomography, and magnetic resonance; and varied endoscopic techniques. These imaging tools create a powerful means of collecting accurate data with little or no damage to the mummified remains or artifacts. Multimodal imaging, therefore, preserves the study subjects for future researchers using yet-to-be-developed data collection instrumentation.

Although not all of the imaging modalities discussed in this section can be readily applied in the field, several can. Paleoimaging conducted at or near the original context has the potential to gather the most accurate imaging data as moving the study subject may create an alteration of the internal context, that is, the context within the mummy itself. In addition, data analysis in context enhances the ability of researchers to make crucial connections between and among the imaging data and the cultural setting, including burial inclusions.

This section includes four chapters that introduce the reader to paleoimaging mul-timodalities including photography, conventional radiography, computerized imaging modalities, and endoscopy. The field applications and limitations of each modality are presented, and case examples are used when appropriate.

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