Dirk Fichtmüller / Cornelia Wollmann

(Landesamt für Archäologie Sachsen mit Landesmuseum für Vorgeschichte Dresden, Germany)

Why? Why does the Archaeological Heritage Service in Saxony use a high-tech 3D terrestrial laser scanner for documentation of archaeological finds? This is a question often heard and we would like to give an answer with our presentation.
Nowadays, the saying “Time is money” becomes ever more realistic. Salaries are expensive and the budget for archaeological projects is strictly limited. It is necessary to find means to optimise the workflow. Using innovative technologies to reduce the time needed for an excavation could be an important first step in the right direction. The time-money-factor for archaeological projects could be reduced and the examined site becomes available for investors and contractors as early as possible.
Usually walls and other archaeological features are documented with the help of a drawing grid and a folding rule. These measurements are complemented with levelling data. This method is very time consuming and not always practical.
With a “Total Station” walls can be documented three dimensionally. The “wire frame – model” generated in this way is highly abstract, but it can be complemented with photos for digitising plane elements.
Now we have the possibility to use a laser measurement system by the Austrian company RIEGL. Within a rather short period of time we are able to document even complex structures with many details in all three dimensions. Further work on the data takes place in the office and can be done by only a few experienced experts. This leaves the excavation site free for construction. From the scanner data we also generate the ground plan, as well as orthophotos with depth information and a generalised wire frame. At the same time the data and the derived products provide many possibilities of use for public relations to bring archaeology back to the attention of the public.

Keywords: Laserscanning, saving time, optimising the workflow, publicity effectiveness