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Archaeology's Interactive Dig
July 2003-July 2010InteractiveDig Sagalassos
The virtual 3D model of the Antonine Nymphaeum superimposed on the current scene
Some of the pictures of ceramic, metal, and glass
An example of the shape-from-stills technique: 3D visualisation of the head of Aphrodite, found in the Hadrianic Nymphaeum. Left: without texture; right: with texture.
Tijl Vereenooghe applies the shape-from-stills technique to the excavations in the shrine of Hadrian and Antoninus Pius.
Part of the team of illustrators with Muriel, Charlotte, and Rob

Photos courtesy Sagalassos Archaeological Research Project. Click on images to enlarge.
by Marc Waelkens

Recording: August 1-5, 2004

Photographic recording
Photographer Bruno Vandermeulen (KULeuven) continued his digital recording of small finds, including those found this year and large collections of metal, glass, and ceramics found during previous years. Profiles of ceramics are photographed on 1:1 scale with a macro lens. The digital images are catalogued in a Canto Cumulus image database, divided into finds, excavation (subdivided into sites and surveys), and general. Images get a unique number and are color corrected, and a small jpg of each is made. The photos are catalogued in the corresponding database, categories and "metadata" are added (type of material, where the object is found or where the photo is taken, year of excavation, etc.). The full-size images are stored on DVD's and mobile disks. Back in Leuven the databases and images are transferred to a server, where the team members can log on to search and retrieve the images, they want. Panoramic site photos will be stitched together to create Quicktime VR movies.

A panoramic picture of the theater taken by Bruno Vandermeulen

One of the big moments of the photographic recording was that of the huge statue of Apollo Klarios with a weight of over three tons (see Sculptural Studies, August 1-5). As the many fragments had to be reassembled lying down in a sand box, general pictures and videos could only be taken from above, this means being lifted up by a crane. Bruno thus could take complete pictures of the statues, but as the video images, which he took also showed his knees, the excavation director himself went up to the skies as well, his feet tied to his back, so that no knees would appear in the picture. Finally, also Semra Saral and Gülnür Caliskan, who had removed the fragments on the site, took their first flying classes.

[image] The excavation director soaring over the colossal Apollo statue

The past two weeks, the collections of metal and glass were photographed. In total, in a mere two weeks Vandermeulen has produced nearly 5,000 digital records of artifacts. Beside this, the excavation director M. Waelkens and his collaborator J. Poblome have taken between 100 and 150 digital pictures a day on the sites and during the surveys. Together with the digital pictures taken by the trench supervisors, the architects, the conservation team, and the various groups of surveyors, the total number of our digital records this year must extend far beyond 20,000. After one week without a photographer, during the two final weeks Danny Veys will join us to photograph the finds of this year.

3-D recording
For several years, the Sagalassos project has been actively involved in projects about the use of computer applications in archaeology. In the new European EPOCH network, the Sagalassos Division is one of the core partners. The Sagalassos Division is a co-operation between archaeologists of the Sagalassos Project directed by Marc Waelkens and engineers of the Computer Vision Lab (ESAT, KULeuven), directed by Luc Van Gool. Together they also have joined in a newly established Center for Bio- and Geo- Archaeology and Archaeological Image Processing.

In the scope of this EPOCH network, we are preparing two showcases about Sagalassos. The first one will present the Antonine Nymphaeum in augmented reality (AR). This means that a virtual 3D model of the monument is superimposed on the scene through special AR glasses, giving visitors and scholars a feel for the original appearance of the site. The technique has already successfully been applied at Olympia (Greece), in the so-called ARCHEOGUIDE. This summer, Tijl Vereenooghe is recording lots of pictures and videos, which will serve as input for this technique.

A second showcase will demonstrate a state-of-the-art tool that can assist archaeologists in the systematic recording of their excavations. It will support the detailed 3D capture and representation of stratigraphic layers, including high-resolution textures of these layers. It will also allow 3D scrolling through layers after their removal, derivation and interpretation of Harris matrices, the easy indication of find locations, creation of links to related information, flexible extraction of quantitative information related to the dig, etc. As a test case for this tool we chose the test soundings near the sanctuary of Hadrian and Antoninus Pius, which started last week. Tijl Vereenooghe, using the "shape-from-stills" technique developed by ESAT, will record all excavated layers and features for 3D visualisation. This technique can also be used for the 3D reconstruction of important finds and buildings. This means that Tijl Vereenooghe, who on a weekly basis processes the website texts written by the excavation director, who spends an average of 30 hours a week on them, before sending them to ARCHAEOLOGY currently is carrying out this task amid the ruins of the Imperial shrine.

Note from the Online Editors of ARCHAEOLOGY: The efforts of Prof. Marc Waelkens and Tijl Vereenooghe in bringing you this InteractiveDig are greatly appreciated. Their work is an exemplary model of how archaeologists should communicate with the public.

Illustrating small finds
Since last week, a special team of illustrators started to draw at a 1:1 scale hundreds of artifacts in ceramics, metal, and glass. Ours illustrators are Muriel Bijnens (Belgium) and a group from the Departments of Illustrative and Applied Arts (Provincial High School of Limburg, Belgium) composed of Greet Raeymaekers, Anke Rymenams, Charlotte Vandenberghe, Bieke Van Bompel, and Rob Croonenborghs.

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