The objective and repeatable measurement of the color of artifacts is a much needed practice in archeological research.
Indeed, in many cases, color information are crucial for the interpretation of cultural products. To avoid the risks of a too
subjective autoptic recognition, Munsell system is commonly adopted. This method requires that a human operator
matches the perceived color to its standardized version in Munsell Charts. This approach has significant limitations that
can mislead archaeologists in their daily work. The alternative would be the use of accurately calibrated sensors in a
controlled illumination environment. These commodities are rarely available for most of the “on field” studies. In this
paper a simple, economical, based on consumer level electronics and sensors, semi-automatic method of color detection
on accurately and precisely selected regions of digital images of ancient pottery is presented. The proposed method
indeed uses only the data from a common CCD sensor supported by a simple color measurement pipeline. Our tool is
aimed to prevent subjective errors during color identification and to speed up the process of identification itself. The
results obtained and percentages of successful matching with human Munsell color identification have statistically shown
that our proposal is an interesting starting point to develop a full, cheap, easy to use system that could facilitate some
aspects of the archaeologist’s work.