Dendrochronology is an essential tool to determine the date and provenance of wood from historical art objects. As standard methods to access the tree rings are invasive, X-ray computed tomography (CT) has been proposed for non-invasive dendrochronological investigation. While traditional CT can provide clear images of the inner structure of wooden objects, it requires their full rotation, imposing strong limitations on the size of the object. These limitations have previously encouraged investigations into alternative acquisition trajectories, including trajectories with only linear movement. In this paper, we use such a line-trajectory (LT) X-ray tomography technique to retrieve tree-ring patterns from large wooden objects. We demonstrate that by moving a wooden artifact sideways between the static X-ray source and the detector during acquisition, sharp reconstruction images of the tree rings can be produced. We validate this technique using computer simulations and two wooden test planks, and demonstrate it on a large iconic chest from the Rijksmuseum collection (Amsterdam, The Netherlands). The LT scanning method can be easily implemented in standard X-ray imaging units available at museum research facilities. Therefore, this scanning technique represents a major step towards the standard implementation of non-invasive dendrochronology on large wooden cultural heritage objects.

doi.org/10.1038/s41598-021-90135-4
Nature Scientific Reports
CT for Art: from Images to Patterns , Real-Time 3D Tomography
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Bossema, F.G, Domínguez-Delmás, M, Palenstijn, W.J, Kostenko, A, Dorscheid, J, Coban, S.B, … Batenburg, K.J. (2021). A novel method for dendrochronology of large historical wooden objects using line trajectory X-ray tomography. Nature Scientific Reports, 11(1). doi:10.1038/s41598-021-90135-4