Modeling the Acropolis at Monte Polizzo, Sicily

Preserving cultural heritage and historic sites is an important problem. These sites are subject to erosion and vandalism, and, as long-lived artifacts, they have gone through many phases of construction, damage and repair. We believe that it is important to use 3D model building technology to create an accurate record of these sites, so preservationists can track changes and foresee structural problems. From a digital libraries perspective, 3D models also allow a much wider audience to ``virtually'' see and tour these sites. This is a significant improvement over static imagery or video, in that immersive viewing is possible, and we can create new and novel views that could outline the historical and chronological transformation of a large site. To test our methods, in July 2003 a team from Columbia University joined the Stanford University Monte Polizzo Excavation in Sicily, with the goal of digitally recording an archaeological excavation. Archaeology is a destructive process that requires that structures and findings, usually in the form of tools, pottery and bones, to be removed in order to continue. We had three goals for this project: to capture the site's current state on a daily basis using several sensors; to create an integrated 3D site model that would include geometry from laser range scans, and photometry images and video; and to record changes as different layers were exposed. This work was supported by NSF grant IIS-0121239

Video: 3D texture mapped model of the Acropolis