(HTW Dresden, Dresden, Germany)


This preliminary report follows the structure from motion (SFM) method which has become increasingly popular in the cultural heritage world in recent years. That process (based solely on image data) allows for a relatively easy production of 3D models which can create very accurate drawings and video animations. Initial field tests have shown that this method can also be utilized underwater. In the future, the use of SFM will greatly ameliorate research in the underwater sector because it allows for the accurate reproduction of complex three-dimensional models. Moreover, SFM offers the first satisfactory solution for the examination of sites at greater depths (which necessarily curtail research divers’ working hours). The quality of this data shows that SFM can be employed underwater with great accuracy. Via the better recording of in situ archaeological material, it is now possible to document even the most complex archaeological situations. The first field tests which took place during diving campaigns in the Mediterranean and the Baltic seas utilized various different recording methods. Divers took photos with a full format camera as well as with a submersible robot with multiple GOPROs. To enable the creation of an accurate scale as well as to facilitate the geo-referencing required in the later creation of the model, a measurement framework or, more accurately, a multi-functional bridge was installed at the site in the Mediterranean. The results of this research as well as the team’s experiences in its utilization ‘on the ground’ are the subject of this article. Additionally, this text addresses the optimal extraction of data during research dives and the equipment which was used to this end. As these factors are crucial to the quality of the models which are later produced, this aspect should be emphasized in future research.