Jeroen DE REU
(Department of Archaeology, Ghent University, Belgium)

Keywords: Three-dimensional documentation, Archaeological heritage, Excavation methodology, Orthophoto mapping, Structure from motion

Image-based 3D modelling has already proven its value for the recording of excavations, however until now its application remained rather small-scale. We have examined image-based 3D modelling in the recording of entire archaeological excavations in Belgium and Iraq, and its impact on the workflow of the excavation process and the post-excavation processing.
Our results suggest that image-based 3D modelling can be an excellent method for registration, documentation and visualization of excavated heritage. Proceeding from a 2D to a 3D recording is of paramount importance for increasing the scientific value of the excavated and digitally preserved heritage. The high-resolution geometric information allows a straightforward quantification of the data. The datasets can act as a robust basis for further integration with other survey and excavation datasets. Image-based 3D modelling also brings along new challenges, e.g. data management and storage and the changed workflow of the (post-)excavation process.
Without doubt we believe that the possibilities of image-based 3D modelling for the recording of archaeological excavations are far exceeding its current limitations. The quality of the data recorded and usable with image-based 3D modelling is already far beyond the possibilities of traditional recording techniques. Therefore, we believe that image-based 3D modelling can cause a(n) (r)evolution in archaeological excavation practice.