Irmengard MAYER

(Technical University Vienna, Austria)

The thorough documentation of the early Christian catacombs including their mural paintings is an important step towards researching iconographic content, their allocation within the complex, the chronological development and the explanation of the building. The referenced three-dimensional models within the architectural space make the catacombs accessible to any scientist without the necessity of going there in person.
This paper aims to show the latest methods documenting early Christian murals, which where applied in the Austrian START Project “The Domitilla Catacombs in Rome. Archeology, Architecture and History of Art of a Necropolis of the Late Antiquity.”
The method presented in November 2007 was further developed and partly replaced by new applications. The data acquisition for paintings to create photo-realistic rendered three-dimensional models is now managed by a common digital SLR camera mounted on a QTVR head used under best possible light conditions.The orientation of these models to the data acquired with an Image Laser Scanner is done by calibrated tiepoints. Following a photogrammetric registration of the images single textured models are created, which in a second step are merged together. The obvious benefit of this new method is the use of the colour information to generate three-dimensional models. This technique eliminates problems in the accuracy within the registration and mapping of freely taken images. Due to the high amount of data, at present the merging of all created models of the paintings and the model of the catacomb is still a problem that needs to be solved.
The solution to this will result in the creation of a model of the entire catacomb, which will allow a registration to the Roman GIS. Subsequently the data will be available to archeologists and architectural historians for further research.