Kristine TANTON
(University of California, Los Angeles, USA)

Keywords: Romanesque, 3D reconstruction, France

Located along the pilgrimage route to Santiago de Compostela, the abbey of Sainte-Marie-Madeleine de Vézelay and the surrounding town was at its apogee in the twelfth century. The abbey and the surrounding town was a major pilgrimage center and played host to many of the most important figures of the period. The Second Crusade was launched there, Thomas Becket vehemently protested Henry II from Vézelay, and Richard the Lionheart and Philip Augustus held a summit there on route to the Third Crusade. As the town and abbey thrived, the monks embarked on an extensive building program. Yet this was not a period of accord. Textual sources, such as charters and the Vézelay Chronicle, attest to mounting tensions among the bishops of Autun, the counts of Nevers, the townspeople of Vézelay, and the monks of Sainte-Marie-Madeleine. Violence boiled over in 1106 when the townspeople murdered the Abbot Artaud.
Although the textual sources document the prosperity and violent conflict at Vézelay, an examination of the material evidence from the period—namely the basilica—may tell us more. However, the twelfth-century fabric of the basilica was drastically altered in the thirteenth century when the basilica’s east end was rebuilt in the Gothic style. In this paper, I will propose a digital reconstruction of the twelfth-century east end based on archaeological evidence, the basilica’s surviving fabric and sculpture, and the site’s topography. In doing so, we can better consider the ritual and political uses of the basilica during the monastery’s conflict with local ecclesiastical and noble powers as well as its role as a center of pilgrimage and the crusades. Furthermore, it will allow us to interrogate the textual sources and reconstruct the material processes of monastic building projects in relation to twelfth-century monastic and papal reforms in Burgundy.

Relevance conference / Relevance session:
This paper not only considers how a 3D reconstructions contribute to cultural heritage but also provide a virtual environment to consider ritual and social uses of the space.

In addition to presenting my 3D model, I will propose standards for annotating the model to document all data and project workflow.
The paper addresses medieval structures and spaces and 3D reconstructions based on historical data for lost parts of a monument.