I had the honor of chairing a session of the recent AIA Annual Meeting in Philadelphia this past weekend. The session was titled “New Digital and Visual Approaches to Archaeology” and was the only pure ‘computer’ session this year. The papers were well chosen, however, as they all concerned the swift recording of standing architecture and the techniques used by the authors were similar.
Christopher Stackowicz, from Bethel College, showed us his work with the Greek Architecture Project at Corinth (http://www.nd.edu/~corinth/). He is using panoramic photographs displayed in VRVformats, but he is also creating overlays on top of the photos which can display a reconstruction of the area/building at certain points in time. The many views that are created are being assembled in software originally designed for real-estate, called Tour Weaver Pro, for navigation and searching. The project is in its third year and is not yet finished but looks promising and very well thought out.
This was followed by a multi-authored paper by Sarah Chapman (University of Arkasas), Sarah Chandlee (University of Tulsa), and Lori Lawson (American University in Cairo) on their Digital Preservation Project at Tell Timai, Egypt. Their focus is on the creation of a site-wide 3D model using GIS and photogrammetry. Right now they have several satellite images and a working GIS, and the photography will begin in earnest this summer. They also said that they wish to extend the photogrammetry technique to the documentation of excavated units as well, which was of great interest to me.
The third paper was by Marcus Abbott, from ArcHeritage, a part of the York Archaeological Trust. He has created a 3D survey of Stavely Hall, a partially destroyed country residence originally built in the early 17th century. The model of the house and various trenches excavated around the property was created with a landscape scanner and photogrammetry. The delivery of the scenes are in panoramic VR formats, in the same manner as the Corinth project mentioned above. His work can be seen at http://www.marcusabbott.org/.