Monitoring and Analysis of Excavation Processes Using Virtual Archaeology

Abstract

During the last years Virtual Archaeology (VA) turned out to be an important part of archaeological methodology for presenting results not only to the wide public but also to the scientific community. Reconstructing the past in terms of computer vision is one important branch of VA. Another one is the documentation and archiving not only of sites and objects but also the monitoring of archaeological excavations. For this purpose different surface documentation techniques were introduced and tested. With this paper we want to present our approach to a complete 3d data capturing procedure, resulting in a 4d model including time of a specific site or area. In combination with a stratigraphic excavation, single layer plans needed to be developed further ending up in a 3d documentation of all excavated deposits defined by surfaces following the rules of stratification. Every excavation process has to be documented as accurately as possible for later reproducibility and analysis. It turned out that Terrestrial Laserscanning, Image Based Modelling and Handheld Laserscanning besides traditional and already widely used tools like totalstations provide the demanded accuracy. Furthermore the use of these techniques also helps to save time during the documentation process. Keeping in mind that every excavation is a destructive, irreversible procedure the monitoring of this already interpretative process is crucial for further critical analysis of the preliminary archaeological hypotheses. These can now be tested using the wide range of tools provided by VA.

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