Martin Schaich

(ArcTron GmbH, Altenthann, Germany)

Digital documentation techniques are still not accepted as standard methods within archaeology even in the year 2005. As a company specialising in the fields of archaeology and software development this is, at the very least, a sobering and surprising conclusion.
The electronic surveying technologies and archaeological software solutions consistently employed, improved and newly developed by ArcTron Ltd. since 1989 will be presented in a brief overview. As well as addressing modern surveying instruments such as total stations and digital pantographs and procedures such as photogrammetry we will discuss the development of our archaeological information systems (ArchaeoCAD/ ArchaeoMAP/ ArchaeoDATA).
These systems are market leaders in the German-speaking world. They are capable of compiling the huge amount of graphic, photographic and contextual information recorded on excavations in manageable databases and CAD programs. They constitute an equivalent to the geographic information systems employed within the Earth sciences and are specifically tailored to meet the requirements of archaeology.
Thanks to the employment of 3D scanning and 3D photogrammetry, many new and promising technologies have appeared on the market within the last few years. They demonstrate their potential particularly clearly when used for the 3D documentation of archaeological excavations. The resulting photorealistic 3D excavation documentation will allow completely new techniques of archaeological documentation to be developed. It is now possible, for example, to carry out the documentation of complex stratigraphic investigations in three dimensions on computer.
ArcTron Ltd. has been developing and marketing an archetypal 3D information system for archaeology (QT Sculptor / aSPECT 3D) for several years. It encompasses the entire range of processing procedures for three dimensional excavation documentation from the initial 3D scanning to the generation of a photorealistic, contextually structured end product.