(University of Siena, Siena, Italy)

Keywords: building archaeology 3D models byzantine churches

The Umm al-Surab and Samah Building Archaeology project aims to record through photogrammetry the sites’ churches of Umm al-Surab and Samah, in the Southern Hawran area, north region of modern Jordan. The sites are characterized by well preserved ancient basalt buildings, sometimes still standing up to the second floor. Umm al Surab lies on a directory of the Via Traiana Nova, connecting the Red Sea to the Great Syria: three churches tested the importance in the past of this village, while Samah is remember through documents for having proved a lively Christian activity far more after the islamic conquest. Of the once two clearly detectable churches at Samah only one survives nowadays, while of the three churches at Umm al Surab only two have been identified.
The sites are facing today an increasing danger by the modern villages risen nearby  using the ancient sites as building materials caves, by heavy restorations or negligence’s consecutions. Threats even more dangerous for sites with few documentation and almost forgotten by archaeology.
The project’s goal is to record the churches in order to:

  • Confront and implement the previous records of the sites.
  • Individuate building’s techniques and reconstruct the buildings’ history.

The project uses the Zscan and Zmap softwares to generate from photos RGB eventually texturized point clouds, geometric correct Ortophotos, D.E.M. The choice of photogrammetry has proved to be the best in order to:

  • Quickly record on the field of complex buildings and large areas, which is capital, given the huge amount of still standing buildings.
  • Offer outputs that can be confronted and easily shared with a large public of researches.

Finally, detecting the sites in a non-destructive method means an environment-economically sustainable archaeology.