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article image3D technology helps assess world heritage sites

By Tim Sandle     Aug 2, 2018 in Science
Computational photographic methods are being used by archaeologists to help capture the past, where digital process reveal more detail than is possible using conventional equipment. Such finding can help to protect sites of special interest.
Digital Archaeology is an emerging field designed to address the changing and growing role of digital technologies in all aspects of archaeology and heritage management. This includes the use of advanced digital photography, which help to uncover and preserve the past.
An example of the techniques available includes Reflectance Transformation Imaging (or 'polynomial texture mapping'). This process involves synthesizing multiple images, which are taken from a fixed camera position at different light angles. This enables a dynamic digital version of an object to be realized. The image quality permits subtle of textures to be revealed in fine detail. This technique has been deployed by Ben Altshuler of the Institute for Digital Archaeology. Altshuler has used the technology to scan the Philae obelisk at Kingston Lacy, plus the Parian Chronicle at the Ashmolean Museum. Considerable volumes of digital archaeological data is now curated in repositories.
A second example is through digitally captured spherical images, from Panoscan cameras. These cameras can provide 360-degree, floor-to-ceiling images. In terms of practical use, the Million Image Database project has been established to document historic and archaeological locations all around the world, by applying 3D photography to capture dimensions and specifications.
These technologies are being used to survey heritage sites and also to bring back to life areas that have suffered damage. In 2001, the Bamiyan Valley in Afghanistan was home to a pair of stunning 100-foot high Buddhas, carved into the sides of the valley walls 1,500 years ago. These statues were damaged during the period of conflict. Now, as Fortune reports, using a new 3D projection technology, the images of the statues have been restored in the form of a holograms of the original Buddhas, beamed from projectors mounted on scaffolding.
More about digital transformation and archaeology, 3D technology, Archaeology
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