chapter  7
25 Pages

Radiography: archaeo-human and animal remains

The discovery of X-rays by Wilhelm Röntgen in 1895 made a momentous impact, not only within the scientific community but also far beyond. It exercised the imagination of the public at large, music hall songs were written about it and contemporary cartoons in the press expressed fears that our innermost secrets would be bared to prying eyes (see Chapter 1). However, the more serious minded rapidly embarked on exploring its application to the medical field, producing within months of the discovery some remarkably good radiographs. It is not surprising that archaeologists were among the first to appreciate the potential of this new technique, confronted as they so often are with objects that are encrusted, embedded or concealed in some other way from immediate view, and soon after the discovery a variety of objects had been subjected to examination by X-rays.