Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Virtual POMPEII

Last week together with Matteo Dellepiane and Marco Callieri  from the ISTI, we (me, Stefan Lindgren and Carolina Larsson) started the digital acquisition of two houses in Pompeii: Casa del Torello and Casa di Cecilio Giocondo. These two amazing monuments have been (and are) studied by "The Swedish Pompeii Project",  with the goal of  [..]"filling the void of documentation lingering with this insula since its excavation"[..]. 
In this context we decided to use the laser scanner together with computer vision techniques in order to create a very detail 3D model of the entire studied area. The model will be generate in the next months and we hope it will increase the research and the communication of the entire Insula.
Faro scanner, in the republican garden
of Cecilio Giocondo's house
For the field work we employed two FARO scanner and a Canon Camera EOS550 with a wide angle lens. Despite the complexity of the structures and the extension of the area, in two days we were able to complete the planned field work realizing more than 70 scans.  The acquisition was incredibly fast and the portability of the new scanner allowed reaching the more tedious areas of the houses.
This instrument is really a new step in the domain of the laser, no cables, no laptop (it works in touch screen) a very long battery,  and the combination with computer vision allows an incredible flexibility in fields campaign. It was  a very successful acquisition and during the next weeks we will study a useful  pipeline to manage and post process such huge quantity of data with a sustainable methodology.  The documentation generated during the field work was very accurate and obviously different from the  projections (CAD or traditional drawings) realized during the excavation. The main question now  is: Does the use of such different data  will influence or change the way of building an  archaeological interpretation in the future?  This is not easy to foresee, because the development and the diffusion of this new methods depend by factors that do not stricktly belong to the archaeology as discipline.
What I think we can  hypothize is that using tools which allow describing an archaeological environments with such details, could help archaeologists to build a shared interpretation using an very precise platform, based on the "virtual" archaeoloogical material that define the investigated context.

Map of the Insula, in the picture the scanned area 
So far the feedback of my collegues was always very positive, but no enough experimentation and literature has been realized.  Now that the tools are ready and easy to use,  a work of investigation about the definition of new structured documentation methods in archaeology is required.








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