If you have 500 B&W Contact Sheet photos to scan be sure you don’t use a desktop inkjet printer/scanner


Even at 5x7” enlargement on my computer monitor this image is fuzzy and not usable whatsoever. The contact sheet was scanned with a basic HP desktop scanner (so a nice normal office scanner, but not outfitted with special features for scanning photographs). These HP office and home units are to scan sheets of paper and then print them. So this HP Deskjet 2775 Ink Advantage is a basic printer with simple scanner good for home and office use but not to scan photos at good resolution.


Scanned with SilverFast 9, scanner software on a dedicated photo scanner (albeit for color film). This SilverFast software can be used in lots of different brands and models of flatbed scanners. SilverFast 9 has dozens more features and options then the nice SilverFast basic scanner software that comes free with good-quality flatbed scanners. In other words, it helps to upgrade your scanner software to make the same scanner produce MUCH better images.

Not many Maya temples or palaces have a corbel-like vault-like entrance (exceptions are the giant corbel vaulted portal entrance ways at Uxmal, Labna and other Puuc area sites of Yucatan, Mexico. This stepped vault is only two courses high (and rectangular, not at a diagonal angle). Bonampak is most famous for its murals, but the architecture is also worth studying in detail.

The Chiapas Maya site of Oxlahuntun, south of Bonampak, also has doorways with comparable “corbel vaulted” doorways, but I have not been to that remote site.


Front cover illustration of John Bourne’s sketch of the row of temples at “Perro”, now named Oxlahuntun. This is a reconstruction drawing since most of these small buildings of the 7th-8th centuries would not be preserved this well after over a thousand years of trees falling and their roots pulling out the stones from the roof combs and roof. Oxlahuntun is in Chiapas, so clearly shared architectural features with Bonampak. Need to find corbel-vaulted doorways at other sites in same area, and ask why not common at Yaxchilan? This book is “Recollections of my Early Travels in Chiapas”, 2001, published by Mesoweb.

I was first at Bonampak at age 18, when the INAH team of archaeologists kindly accepted my offer to help them for a week to set up their camp. I also offered to help them carry supplies, on foot, hiking many kilometers through the rain forest, since there was no airfield at Bonampak (and no road even for 4-wheel drive pickup trucks). So the INAH team flew me to the landing strip at a Lacandon Maya community and from there we carried the supplies to the site of Bonampak. After the camp was set up, I then continued my studies of Classic Maya architecture to Puuc sites in Yucatan, and to Tikal in Peten. I returned to Bonampak several more times, including in mid-1990’s with INAH permit to do photography. In that year I could drive there with a 4x4 vehicle.


This is the entire contact sheet, so the photo of the temple is 6x6 centimeters (the size of a medium format Hasselblad photo with 120 film). The entire contact sheet is okay at 1:1, but when you enlarge an individual image it fuzzes out.

Scanned with the HP desktop scanner (so a good office scanner but not made for high-quality photo digitization). Desktop software (so no SilverFast). Bonampak temple with corbel arched doorway is middle/left. Yaxchilan temple/palace is left two columns.


The same contact sheet scanned with SilverFast 9 scanner software on an Epson Perfection V850 flatbed scanner. So the larger view that you see previously is from a 6x6 centimeter (2¼ by 2¼ inches is the jargon in English).

Next step is to learn the different work flow for scanning B&W prints compared with scanning 35mm color transparencies. So a lot more discussion of SilverFast 9 scanner software to come.


First posted August 14, 2023 by Nicholas Hellmuth

More FLAAR Reports

706082 D PES 2014 solvent eco solvent printers full exhibitor list Part I

If you wish to donate your library on pre-Columbian Mesoamerica and related topics, FLAAR will be glad to receive your library and find a good home for it. Contact:





Q’eqchi’-Spanish-English Dictionary Segments

2012 Prophecies of the end Mayan calendar

3D Scanning Equipment Reviews For Field Work

GigaPan Epic Pro System

Bibliography Mayan dye colorants

Municipio de Livingston Izabal: places to visit

TECHNOLOGY, BOOK REVIEWS on Digital Imaging, especially 3D

Private Museums of Mayan Archaeology



Agriculture, diet, food

Maya Vase Rollouts

Trees of Mesoamerica

Mayan languages of Guatemala

Museums of Mayan Archaeology

Carlos Pellicer, Tabasco

Lectures on Maya topics Now available

Travel / Hotels

Guatemala City


Baja Verapaz

Archaeology of Iran

Visit other FLAAR sites

Flora and fauna

Educational Books