Camera helps unlock the secrets of the tomb

A team of archaeologists have captured images of a first-century tomb in Jerusalem using remote visual inspection (RVI) equipment from General Electric (Fairfield, CT, USA).

Mar 26th, 2012
Camera helps unlock the secrets of the tomb
Camera helps unlock the secrets of the tomb

A team of archaeologists have captured images of a first-century tomb in Jerusalem using remote visual inspection (RVI) equipment from General Electric (Fairfield, CT, USA).

The pan-tilt-zoom (PTZ) cameras and video probes enabled the crew from the University of North Carolina (Chapel Hill, NC, USA) to unlock the secrets of the tomb without entering the chamber.

License to study this historically significant tomb in the East Talpiot section of Jerusalem was granted to the academic team under stipulation by religious groups and the Israel Antiquities Authority that nobody should enter the tomb, nor should anything be disturbed or retrieved.

After drilling three 8-in. holes through 2 m of rock, the team deployed a General Electric CA-Zoom PTZ camera attached to a mechanical/pneumatic arm designed by Hollywood prop maker Walter Klassen. The crew also employed GE’s XLG3 video probe, which was able to snake its way through the ancient masonry and capture images from even more remote corners of the tomb.

Ultrasharp images were required to make the inscriptions on the ossuaries legible to viewers, so engineers from the Inspection Technologies business of GE Measurement & Control custom designed a high-definition camera for the crew.

The project was launched and funded by Toronto-based Associated Producers, with Discovery Channel backing. Titled “The Resurrection Tomb,” the documentary will air this spring in the US on The Discovery Channel.

GE’s RVI technology was developed for industrial applications such as inspection of jet engines for overhaul and repair. It is used to check for corrosion and cracks in machinery, to peer inside tanks and containers, down pipes, and apparatus on oil platforms, commercial heat exchangers, racecar engine blocks, and power generators.

-- by Dave Wilson, Senior Editor, Vision Systems Design

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