Roman Leather Mouse

To change the light direction, click the lightbulb button on the left of the viewer, and click and drag over the viewer with the mouse. Click the question mark button for more guidance on using the viewer.

This image was created to explore the potential of RTI (Reflectance Transformation Imaging) to capture a finely-textured surface, in this case the grain pattern of the leather and the incised details, which can be difficult to capture using conventional photography. In an archaeological setting, being able to observe features such as tool marks, wear patterns and other small details of surface texture, could be extremely valuable in understanding how the item was made and used, without necessarily needing physical access to the object.

About The Object

A modern replica of a leather animal (possibly a mouse or lizard) discovered among leather offcuts excavated from the Roman fort at Vindolanda. The purpose of the original is unknown – perhaps it was a child’s toy, a prank, or a ‘doodle’ by a leather craftsperson.

Examples of Visual Effects in RTI Viewer

Leather mouse with normals visualisation

Normals visualisation creates a false colour image with each pixel’s ‘surface normal’ direction mapped to a colour palette - indicating which direction each surface is facing.

Leather mouse with specular enhancement

Specular enhancement mathematically increases the image contrast, exaggerating the surface texture depth of the item. In the RTI viewer software, this effect is overlaid over the interactive image, meaning the light source is still moveable.



Replica Roman Leather Mouse


Leather Animal


Personal Collection


University of Exeter



Sample Owner

Julia Hopkin

File Creator

Julia Hopkin


All rights reserved in the metadata and all media by the owner unless otherwise indicated.

Format (1)

Reflectance Transformation Imaging file and associated views.

Format (2)



Leather Shape