Roman African amphora on a sandy bottom at 18 meters depth at Sanisera (Menorca, Spain)
The computer software moves, runs, accelerates and flies. Archaeologists must get on board the same plane and use their resources to achieve a more efficient registration of our archaeological projects.
It is becoming easier and more intuitive to apply photogrammetry techniques in archeology, and the benefits provided by some 3D editing programs allow us to perform tasks that just five years ago were unthinkable.
Throughout 2013, in excavations that The Sanisera Field School has carried out in the Roman city of Sanisera (Menorca, Spain), we have practiced with photogrammetry in structures, stratigraphy, singular objects and digging graves. In addition, it has been very interesting to try them in the adversity of the underwater world, experiencing 3D photography with amphorae discovered under the underwater survey program we organized in the port of Cap de Cavalleria and Sanitja.
Creation of the 3D model in Agisoft PhotoScan
Actually, it is not essential to have a high level of logistical equipment to achieve an acceptable result that can enrich the documentation achieved after excavation and exploration.
Simply using a digital camera to get pictures of more than 5 megapixels, adopting the basic rules of photogrammetry and taking into account parameters used in programs such as 123D Catch Autodesk, Photomodeler or Agisoft PhotoScan, we can plan an archaeological photogrammetric project focus on any aspect, either landscape, object, building, structure, …
After tests and our applied experience, we recommend Agisoft PhotoScan as the most suitable software for the treatment of photogrammetry, to calculate overlapping photos, creating meshes and textures. In addition, Weshlab completes PhotoScan work in the edition, repair and closure of meshes.
From Agisoft or Meshlab is very easy to export the created project in 3D to any CAD platform, such as AutoCAD or ArcGIS, using the file extension format “.dxf”.
Model revised with Meshlab, ready for exportation in .dxf and .pdf formats.
Finally, we want to underline the effective utility when exporting the final result in 3D into .pdf format for editing with Adobe Reader XI, since it allows any type of user, regardless of their level of computer literacy, to consult the project without a necessary access or use of the 3D editing software.
Inserting the 3D archaeological artifact in AutoCAD platform to join the rest of the documentation from the archaeological site of Sanisera