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Archeology enters the third dimension

The Pau office of the IRAA (institute for research on antique architecture) is working on new 3D imaging technologies for archeological purposes.

«Archeology relies on images designed to record, study or communicate on vestiges. The emergence of 3D imaging is casting a new light on this scientific exercise, just as photography did at the beginning of the 19th century.» Véronique Picard and Jean-François Bernard, researchers at the IRAA of Pau, are convinced they are living a revolution. The development and use of new technologies is one of their research focuses. «As things stand today,» they observe, «representation is no longer manual or mechanical, it is digital. Precise, easy to share and in three dimensions, these new images can be used to produce facsimiles of existing vestiges and model hypothetical reproductions.»

They are currently taking part in two international projects. The first, launched in early 2017, consists in performing photogrammetry of the ancient Roman city, Baelo Claudia in Andalucía, that would serve as a basis for the digital reconstruction of the lost remains. The second, an ANR project called ArchXant, aims to virtually reconstruct the Nereid Monument of Xanthos in Turkey. However, they
warn against the frenetic development of algorithms «conducive to technological prowess, at the risk of losing sight of the historical perspective of five centuries of
reflection and experiments on the art of representing ruins and preserving the
memory of them over the long term.»

An issue they fully intend to find answers to.

Contacts :

veronique.picard @
jean-francois.bernard @