American Excavations at Kenchreai (in 3D)

The latest issue of The Amphora includes an article by Sebastian Heath outlining new low-cost techniques for making 3D models of artifacts at Kenchreai. Heath expands an earlier piece recently published in the popular ebook (ed. Caraher and Olson), Visions of Substance: 3D Imaging in Mediterranean Archaeology   by comparing two methods for making 3D models at Kenchreai, the photogrammetric software program called Agisoft and a structure scanner developed for the iPad. The screen shot below shows these 3D models of an invenstoried Roman statue base with feet from Kenchreai (clicking on the image will take you to the 3D model).

Kenchreai Statuse Base


I took away three things from the piece. First, 3D imaging is easier and cheaper than ever before. We have used the Agisoft software frequently in Cyprus to make 3D models of both excavation trenches and artifacts. Even the undergraduate students I took with me to Larnaca this summer learned the technique of photographing an artifact from every angle  in order to prepare 3D images in Agisoft. The structure scanner makes the process even easier. People who study archaeology from a distance can expect more interactive 3D models of artifacts to be available to them in the near future.

Second, the Kenchreai Excavations Project is developing its digital archive in a major way. This is good news since the project has been off the grid–at least the world wide web–for the last few years. Heath’s article links to a developing website for the project, a growing digital archive with metadata, and the interactive 3D model of the inventoried Roman statue base with associated notebook pages. The Kenchreai Archaeological Archive (KAA) will include artifacts recovered from excavations a half century ago, as well as the more recent excavations of the Greek-American Excavations at Kenchreai. The site is also developing a page dedicated to maps and plans.

Finally, the development of the Kenchreai archive adds yet another layer to a truly digital Corinthia. The expansive ASCSA excavations at Corinth, the Archaeological Resource Cataloging System at Isthmia, the Corinth Computer Project, the KAA, and the soon-to-be digitized Eastern Korinthia Survey data sets should make this region one of the most digitized archaeological environments of Greece. And that’s good news for those interested in Corinthian matters.

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