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3D Object Documentation

Software-guided 3D-Documentation of Archaeological Finds

3D Animation of vessel scanned with a KONICA MINOLTA VI-910 scanner

3D Animation of vessel scanned with a KONICA MINOLTA VI-910 scanner
(© Archaeological Heritage Office)

Since 2004, Saxony’s Archaeological Heritage Service uses a laser scanner (RIEGL LMS Z-420i) to capture entire excavation sites. The astonishing quality of the results achieved by this method persuaded us to apply laser scanning to other fields of archaeological work, too. Accordingly, a system for laser scanning (Konica Minolta VI-910) was acquired for the documentation of archaeological finds.

Each year about 750,000 finds are recovered in the course of excavations in Saxony alone. Selected objects of great scientific or aesthetic value are documented by photos or manually drawn technical sketches. These results of traditional, two-dimensional documentation are the foundation of any scientific evaluation and publication. Nonetheless drawing finds is costly in terms of time, and as it is liable to subjective influences such as skill and experience of the draughtsman, the results are always inaccurate to some extent.

To improve this situation it was decided to make use of software-aided methods in order to produce technical sketches of finds. In a first step we use the 3D laser scanner to capture finds in a laboratory especially set up for this purpose. As the finds are optimally illuminated, the scanner captures not only the geometry of an object but also authentic colour values.

For the specific needs of archaeological documentation the software system TroveSketch was developed in a cooperation between Saxony’s Archaeological Heritage Service and the University of Technology in Chemnitz. The programmes TroveSketch and Vessel Reconstructor, which is the outcome of a follow-up project, enable us to virtually reconstruct ceramic vessels and to create two-dimensional sketches of 3D-scanned objects in no time.

Collecting the Data

KONICA MINOLTA VI-910 scanning a vessel

KONICA MINOLTA VI-910 scanning a vessel
(© Archaeological Heritage Office)

Finds are scanned with the help of the software Polygon Editing Tool (Konica Minolta), which directs the scanner. A revolving disc permits the automatic recording of the entire vessel.

Finds are scanned with the help of the software Polygon Editing Tool (Konica Minolta), which directs the scanner. A revolving disc permits the automatic recording of the entire vessel.
(© Archaeological Heritage Office)

Processing the Data

Geomagic Studio 9 (Geomagic Ltd.): Scans are processed into an object model. Steps: filling in missing data; registration; integration; correcting color values.

Geomagic Studio 9 (Geomagic Ltd.): Scans are processed into an object model. Steps: filling in missing data; registration; integration; correcting color values.
(© Archaeological Heritage Office)

TroveSketch (TU Chemnitz - Dept. of Computer Graphics and Visualization): creating multicolor or stylized images of finds ready for publication. Generating profiles, unrolling the surface of an object, exporting to scale into graphic data format.

TroveSketch (TU Chemnitz - Dept. of Computer Graphics and Visualization): creating multicolor or stylized images of finds ready for publication. Generating profiles, unrolling the surface of an object, exporting to scale into graphic data format.
(© Archaeological Heritage Office)

Vessel Reconstructor (TU Chemnitz - Dept. of Computer Graphics and Visualization): Reconstruction of vessels based on one ore more representative sherd.

Vessel Reconstructor (TU Chemnitz - Dept. of Computer Graphics and Visualization): Reconstruction of vessels based on one ore more representative sherd.
(© Archaeological Heritage Office)

Individual results

Unrolling the surface of a vessel.

Unrolling the surface of a vessel.
(© Archaeological Heritage Office)

Measuring the object.

Measuring the object.
(© Archaeological Heritage Office)

Stylized image.

Stylized image.
(© Archaeological Heritage Office)

Reconstruction of the virtual volume of a vessel based on one sherd.

Reconstruction of the virtual volume of a vessel based on one sherd.
(© Archaeological Heritage Office)

Marginalspalte


Illustration

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Tombstone of Jobst von Feilitzsch († ca. 1511)

Tombstone of Jobst von Feilitzsch († ca. 1511). Height 198,3 cm; breadth 105,3 cm. Curch of Kürbitz, community of Weischlitz, Vogtland district.

Contact

Dipl.-Ing. (FH) Thomas Reuter

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