Ship ornament Barry appears to be vulnerable in the Hanze CT scanner

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Scheepsornament Barry
Scheepsornament Barry

The centuries-old ship ornament, nicknamed Barry, that fishermen found off the coast of Texel last year was subjected to a CT scan at Hanze University of Applied Sciences on Friday, November 3. Students and teachers of the Medical Imaging Radiotherapy Techniques (MBRT) course were involved in this special project. “The most important conclusion is that Barry is currently particularly vulnerable due to a deep shrinkage crack.”

Photos: Rienhart Wolf

Archeology student Tess Arzini from Saxion University of Applied Sciences examines the ornament in connection with her graduation research. The CT scan serves as a supplement to her ongoing archaeological research into Barry's background. The CT scanner was used to make thousands of cross-sections of the ornament, revealing details that were not visible from the outside. Arzini about her research: “I conduct research into ship ornaments found on and around Texel. Using innovative techniques, in this case a CT scan, we obtain more information about the ship ornament without damaging the image. CT scans are rarely used for archaeological research in the Netherlands. You see that more abroad. The collaboration with students from other courses and colleges makes having such a scan made much more fun.”

Particularly vulnerable

What did the scan ultimately show? “The most important conclusion is that Barry is currently particularly vulnerable due to a deep shrinkage crack that became visible during the scan,” says MBRT teacher Rienhart Wolf. “In addition, the annual rings of the (coniferous) wood were clearly visible and pigment (paint) residues also came to light in the deeper parts of the face.” MBRT student Roxanne Tijssen made Barry's scan. “The wooden statue is really different from the scans of body parts that we make during training. For that we use a special doll.” The MBRT training occasionally cooperates with these types of non-medical requests, says Wolf. “The scanning protocol that is used today was developed two years ago by two MBRT students during a graduation assignment. Archaeological finds require fundamentally different settings for the scanner compared to the human body, but fortunately we do not have to worry about the radiation dose.”

A number of experts were present during Barry's scan. Tjeerdo Wieberdink and Kees Hos from Onderdak Nautisch Erfgoed Wieringen (ONEW) travelled with Barry because of the fragility of the ornament. Silke de Lange, wood specialist and senior archaeologist from BIAX Consult, was also present at the CT scan.

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