(Kuratorium Pfahlbauten (Helena da Fonseca and Henrik Pohl); Crazy Eye (Ronny Weßling), Vienna, Austria)

Keywords: Underwater Archaeology, 3D documentation, Structure from Motion, prehistoric pile dwellings, excavation evaluation

Since 2015 there have been four underwater excavations in pile dwelling sites in the lakes Attersee and Mondsee in Austria. The excavations are part of the national research project “Zeitensprung”, with the focus of gaining new data for a large exhibition about the UNESCO World Heritage “Pile dwellings around the Alps” in Upper Austria in 2027.
Therefore the sites were recorded using Structure from Motion (SfM) and Multi View Stereo (MVS) not only for documantion purposes, but also with the goal of an appealing visualisation of the excavation process for the public.
As all of the four sites were systematically recorded, using an image based modelling approach, the time has come for an evaluation of this technique. This paper is not limited to the presentation of the recording workflow or the final results, but is asking what the added value of SfM and MVS is. Particularly for the archaeological analysis and interpretation of underwater excavations. Based on the case study of Weyregg II we will present our insights in handling SfM and MVS derived data during the post excavation process and will show the benefits and the challenges we had to overcome as well as the limitations you need to be aware of.

Relevance for the conference: The lecture deals with the evaluation of underwater SfM-documentation by sharing our experiences on settlement excavations and showing the benefits and the limits of this method.
Relevance for the session: Within the lecture we will present the practical use of SfM documentation during underwater excavations, also showing the value of this method in the archaeological reconditioning process.
Innovation: We will rise above the educational level of presenting the technical process of SfM documentation underwater and focus mainly on the practical application of this method on archaeological issues.

  • M. Callieri, N. Dell’Unto, M. Dellepiane, R. Scopigno, B. Soderberg, L. Larsson 2011, Documentation and Interpretation of an Archeological Excavation: an experience with Dense Stereo Reconstruction tools. In: The 12th International Symposium on Virtual Reality, Archaeology and Cultural Heritage VAST (2011)
  • M. Dellepiane, F. Niccolucci, S. Pena Serna, H. Rushmeier, and L. Van Gool (Editors). – R. Weßling, J. Maurer, A. Krenn-Leeb, 2014, Structure from Motion for Systematic Single Surface Documentation of Archaeological Excavations. Proceedings of the 18th International Conference on Cultural Heritage and New Technologies 2013 (CHNT 18, 2013).