(University of York, Department of Archaeology, York, United Kingdom)

Keywords: Photogrammetry 3D digital recording Mesolithic

Archaeological excavations have long relied on three pillars of recording – the written, drawn and photographic record – to generate preservation-by-record of contextual information that is destroyed through the dynamic process of excavation. The recorded information sits alongside the physical remains of excavated artefacts and ecofacts to form the site archive. However, the increasing availability of digital technologies capable of providing high resolution 3D digital imaging in the field is opening up a new arena of archaeological recording.
Waterlogged sites with a high prevalence of organic remains – such as Star Carr – have presented particular challenges in terms of (1) the richness and density of contextual information that can often be difficult to articulate within a standard analogue recording framework, and (2) the difficulty and often high cost not only of excavation but also of preservation and long term storage of waterlogged remains.
A hybrid digital / analogue recording system can help to address some of these challenges. This paper critically appraises the implementation of such an approach at the Early Mesolithic site of Star Carr in terms of workflow, deliverability, speed and ease of use. Using Agisoft Photoscan Pro, an enhanced 3D archive of timber structures and other associated finds scatters was produced, enabling an increased speed of on-site recording during a high-tempo, time-limited excavation.

Relevance conference | Relevance session:
Critical appraisal of a real world case study utilising 3D digital data collection in field archaeology

Bringing together digital photogrammetric resources with manual analogue recording to increase throughput and ease workflow in a dynamic excavation environment

Star Carr: Life in Britain after the Ice Age. Council for British Archaeology. 10.11141/AfA1.
CONNELLER, C./ MILNER, N. / TAYLOR, B. / TAYLOR, M. (2012): Substantial settlement in the European Early Mesolithic: new research at Star Carr. Antiquity, 86(334), 1004-1020