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3D Digital survey of the Paphos Theater

The project which is a collaboration between the University of Sydney archaeological mission in Paphos, the Science and Technology for Archaeology Research Center (STARC) of the Cyprus Institute, the Institute for Technology Applications to Cultural Heritage of the National Research Council (CNR-ITABC), Italy and the University of Naples “L’Orientale” (CISA), Italy, aims at producing a 3D model of the Hellenistic-Roman Paphos Theater in Cyprus. The outcome of the project will be a dataset to be visualized on a standard computer monitor or on special equipment for enhanced 3D effect. It is anticipated that the model will be valuable as archaeological documentation, for communication, e.g. for creating virtual reconstructions of the ancient appearance, and, in a technological perspective, for testing the integration of the different technologies to be used in the project. These include a balloon-suspended set of digital cameras, taking shots of the site from above (30-50 m), which are then processed with special software and provide a model of the surface; and a 3D scanner to acquire details, interiors or parts not visible from top. The separate scans will then be assembled using target points acquired with a total station and geo-referenced using a differential GPS system.

The project started in April 2009, with a field data acquisition campaign of 10 days, and then post-processing of scan data. A preliminary model was produced in June 2009, and the final will be presented in September 2009.

Description of the work

The project aims at producing a 3D model of the current state of the Paphos Theater. The project is the result of a collaboration among:

  1. The Australian Archaeological Mission from the University of Sydney, directed by Prof. J.R. Green, Dr Smadar Gabrieli and Dr. Craig Barker.
  2. STARC, Science and Technology in Archaeology Research Center of the Cyprus Institute, Nicosia.
  3. CNR-ITABC (Montelibretti-Rome, Italy) – Institute for Technology Applications to Cultural Heritage of the National Research Council.
  4. CISA – University of Naples “L’Orientale” (Italy) – Interdepartmental Center for Archaeological Services.

The outcome of the work will consist in a dataset – a 3D master model – that can be viewed/processed with appropriate software. It will be accompanied by different versions to accommodate for various needs, e.g. processing with CAD software, visualization in different environments (Internet, standard monitors, special 3D visualization monitors) and so on.

The resulting master model will be very accurate, research-grade, and will enable different uses, such as:

  • Research: usage for archaeological documentation, both using the 3D model or any 2D extraction from it, e.g. maps and sections.
  • Communication and conservation: the acquired model will be the basis for further work, e.g. 3D reconstructions of the original appearance, and virtual restoration/exploration of different conservation solutions
  • Technology benchmark: as a test of the application of two different/complementary technologies.

It must be emphasized that the whole work is a research activity: it has not been tested before in similar conditions, so it has an experimental character. The project incorporates elements of interest both from an archaeological and from a technological perspective, so both exigencies will be taken into account in the activity design.

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