The burial monument of Queen Gertrude (13th. Century)

Beatrix SZABO
(Mensor 3D Kft., Budapest, Hungary)

Keywords: 3D scanning, modeling, virtual reconstruction, cultural heritage

One of the most debated burial sites of medieval Hungary is the grave of Queen Gertrude of Meran with its decorated burial monument at the Cistercian Abbey of Pilis. The queen was assassinated and this event is one the most debated historical events of the Hungarian history, with a large number of local and foreign contemporary documents. Archaeological excavations has revealed the fragments of her burial monument with high artistic qualities (human figures, architectural elements, inscription, decorated patterns, etc). During the last three decades, art historical research has discussed the foreign artistic influences of the monument and has proposed a number of different reconstructions based on the traditional documentation (drawings and photos) of the excavated fragments. A full size sculpted model has also been created on the basis of one of these hypothetical reconstructions.
The main goal of this paper is to present the results of a new research project for the creation of the first virtual reconstruction of the burial monument. The fragments of the monument and its previously sculpted physical model were captured by terrestrial laser scanner and optical 3D scanner, and consequently point clouds and meshes were created. Using the high-resolution data in a CAD environment, a 3D virtual reconstruction model was built showing a possible form of the burial monument. In order to offer the new virtual reconstruction for different research approaches (art historical studies, archaeological interpretations, comparative studies with other monuments, etc.) a new method was required to handle the huge amount of digital data. A database was built from the meshes of the fragments enabling to manage them easily. High precision 3D models of the fragments allowed for capturing their precise geometry, and it offers the opportunity to develop metrical studies on the fragments, which can be the basis of alternative reconstruction attempts. By using these 3D technologies the fragments, the reconstructions and the conclusions derived from them are available for everyone, without professional hardware. With this method, scholars can use spectacular 3D visualisations in their research and many of the artefacts’ properties can be examined as well. The results are also available for a wider audience, as it has been demonstrated in an exhibition to commemorate the 800th anniversary of the death of Queen Gertrude. Thus, the paper describes the new possibilities provided by the 3D technology over conventional methods for scientific research and introduces a method where archaeological, historical and art historical examinations were integrated with the use of state of the art technologies.

Relevance conference | Relevance session:
Digital heritage documentation and preservation.

High precision 3D scanning in the service of art historical research.

TAKÁCS Imre (1994):
Gertrudis királyné síremléke. In: Pannonia Regia. Művészet a Dunántúlon 1000-1541. Szerk.: Mikó Árpád-Takács Imre. Budapest, 1994, 248-270.
FEHÉR András (2013): 3D szkennerek alkalmazása a régészetben Megjelent: Magyar Régészet Online Magazin, 2013 nyár,