Archaeology in 3D

By Sebastian Heath

Heath's chapter, "Closing Gaps with Low-cost 3D," appears in the newly published volume Visions of Substance: 3D Imaging in Mediterranean Archaeology, eds. B. Olson and W. Caraher. The book is the print version of a series of posts that appeared under the rubric "3D Thursdays" on William Caraher's blog The Archaeology of the Mediterranean World in 2013 and early 2014. Dr. Caraher is a professor at the University of North Dakota and has expanded the university's publication efforts with a series of open access books. The current catalog is listed online. The full text of Visions of Substance is immediately available on ScribD, with bound copies soon coming to Amazon and elsewhere.

The project was inspired by the rapid uptake of inexpensive, relatively easy to use 3D technologies by archaeologists working around the Mediterranean. Using his experience as a member of the American Excavations at Kenchreai, an important port near Corinth in Greece, Heath offers a long-term view of the role of 3D renderings in archaeological illustration while also exploring the near and long-term impact of being able to freely share 3D data. Field work and study at Kenchreai are conducted under the auspices of the American School of Classical Studies and by permission of the Greek Ministry of Culture.

The URL is a link to the 3D model illustrated on this page; it also appears in the chapter. More of Heath's models made using the technique known as either "Photogrammetry" or "Structure from Motion" are available at . All of these are on the site, which enables free sharing of 3D models.

Other contributions to Visions of Substance offer introductions to photogrammetry, discuss the importance and difficulty of archiving 3D models, and present numerous examples of practical, in-field use of modeling by projects working in the Mediterranean.