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Borescope Uses in Archeology | Optics and Lab Equipment

Borescope Uses in Archeology

Last Updated: 22.10.19


You might have heard plenty about the use of borescopes in various industries such as aviation, automotive repair and maintenance, manufacturing, and many others. It is natural for these industries to make good use of borescopes, as these are devices that can offer the possibility to inspect for damages places that would not be easy to access without a specialized tool. But you might be surprised to learn that borescopes have an even broader application. Archeology is one of the activities that benefit significantly from such units.

What is paleoimaging?

When you think of archeology, you’re probably conjuring in your head images of fragmented pots and ruins that are scattered haphazardly by the edge of a cliff. Archeology, however, deals with much more than what have always been inanimate objects. The study of mummies, for instance, is quite a fascinating part of archeology.

Unlike the pieces of a broken pot that can be manipulated with a certain degree of carelessness, a mummy can easily be destroyed if it is not handled correctly. That is why the use of borescopes is ideal for inspecting mummies. The non-destructive nature of this type of inspection helps to avoid destroying the delicate structure of the mummies while providing the researchers with excellent insight.

The study of mummies with the help of borescopes is called paleoimaging. Another name used among archeologists is anthropological endoscopy.


A bit on the use of borescopes in archeology

For the first time, borescopes were used in the study of mummies in the 1970s, when archeologists found flexible videoscopes could be successfully inserted through small gaps to allow delicate inspection. The models they began using were the same ones particular to medical examinations and diagnostics, so they were not designed explicitly for archeological work.

As expected, the flexible models were preferred, due to the nature of the items that had to be inspected. While the 1970s can be marked as the beginning of borescope use in archeology, it wasn’t until the 1990s when this use became more widespread. Some books on paleoimaging were written during that time, to provide archeologists with excellent starting points for their work, as well.

Today, by getting an endoscope app for Android and the corresponding device, one can operate the required examination on archeological artifacts such as mummies, just like a doctor would use to examine a patient.


How does paleoimaging work with other techniques?

Archeology is no stranger to the use of medical imaging techniques, as radiography is quite extensively employed to determine various data in the study of mummies. Together with paleoimaging, such imaging techniques can provide the researcher with details on the shape, color, contour, or exact locations for various aspects identified in the structure of a mummy.

What radiography can supply as just shadows, paleoimaging can improve by adding more visual details. For archeologists, such advancements are critical for their research.

Other benefits of borescope use in archeology

There is also another benefit of using borescopes in the study of mummies. The borescope can guide the required instruments for taking tissue samples or extracting small objects located inside. And that works not only on mummies but also on coffins or tombs that also benefit significantly from the non-destructive nature of this type of inspection.

Let’s not forget about the fact that these devices are highly portable, which means that they are ideal for field work. As a borescope is lightweight and battery-operated, it is excellent for taking everywhere, and for working within cramped places. Archeologists seem to be quite impressed with how comfortable these devices are, and they even consider them must-haves for their tool bags.


More and more archeologists are using borescopes in their work

Anthropological endoscopy seems to become more and more popular among archeologists. Due to the benefits mentioned above, researchers prefer to invest into such inexpensive gear rather than depend on machinery that is difficult to move and can’t be as non-destructive as videoscopes.

There are many supporters of the use of paleoimaging among archeologists. Today, various workshops and conferences tackle the importance of paleoimaging in archeological work.

Mummy studies conferences prove to be great opportunities for making borescopes even more popular. The fact that researchers can use such lightweight and portable devices for field work is considered the primary benefit.

Besides workshops and conferences, books are also written on the subject. Their most important role is to draw attention over the non-destructive nature of the type of inspection that can be run with the help of these devices.


A versatile tool

Scientific work can benefit greatly from such a handy tool as a borescope. For obvious reasons, flexible models are preferred as they are more suitable for the examination work of mummies than rigid models.

Studies are being carried on that involve interviewing various specialists on their experience of using borescopes in their work. These studies will be used later for establishing what models and which features are the most helpful for archeology.

Why are videoscopes preferred?

The answer is simple. Archeologists need to take pictures and record videos of what they examine when they inspect the interior of a mummy. Such materials are precious for a researcher, and they would not be obtained easily otherwise, or without destroying, at least partially, the tissue that must be inspected.

Among the features that should be present in a borescope for archeology use, strong illumination holds a particular spot. Since there would be no external source of light possible for this type of inspection, the borescope used must have good lighting.

It matters that the borescope is rather thin and narrow so that it can be inserted through tiny openings. Also, it has to be flexible to reach difficult places without a problem.



Just like aviation, maintenance work, and many other fields, archeology can use borescopes for the researchers’ activity. No other device can equal the portability and convenience, as well as the efficiency of such a unit.



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I need a scanner for see under the ground and for archeology
Which one is the bestest?

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