(University of Southhampton, United Kingdom)

Outline: Virtual reconstruction and simulation of weathering effects on a roman angular-sided square bottle base fragment and a copper disc brooch with enamelled decoration.

Previous research has shown that three-dimensional computer models have found dynamic applications in archaeology. The majority of the models represent the object in its initial state, without taking into consideration the “non-static” nature of artefacts; the alterations due to material deterioration processes. The context of this paper is the accurate virtual representation of archaeological materials and the simulation of weathering effects. It describes a methodology and set the principles in order to achieve the accurate visualization of artefacts in relation to time and change, taking into consideration their spatial and temporal nature. Moreover, concepts about whether three-dimensional modelling can implemented in a way that benefits archaeological ethics are presented. In order to bridge the gap between virtual and real world, as more than one option for the materials visualization and ageing were presented, in addition to different computational methods.
Three objects derived from the collection of the Archaeological Museum of Southhampton were used as trial artefacts; a roman bottle fragment, a copper brooch with enamelled decoration and a polychrome jug. Shape and texture data were taken by means of laser scanning. Physicochemical analysis and art-historical data were used in order to create virtual materials in 3d Studio Max. The project resulted in virtual reconstruction of the artefacts and series of three-dimensional models, which represent the artefacts at gradually weathered stages. However, the models narrate the object’s biography or “life cycle”. For glass and metal artefacts the result were photorealistic contrary to the painted surfaces due to the nature of the paint and the complex aged patterns.

Keywords: virtual reconstruction, glass, enamel, metal