You are using an outdated browser that does not fully support the intranda viewer.
As a result, some pages may not be displayed correctly.

We recommend you use one of the following browsers:

Full text

New perspectives to save cultural heritage
Altan, M. Orhan

W. Boehler 3 ,K. Boehm 3 , G. Heinz a,b , A. Justus b , Ch. Schwarz 3 , M. Siebold 3
3 i3mainz, Institute for Spatial Information and Surveying Technology, FH Mainz, Holzstrasse 36, 55116 Mainz, Germany,
b Roemisch-Germanisches Zentralmuseum, Ernst-Ludwigs-Platz 2, 55116 Mainz, Germany
Working Group 6
KEY WORDS: Archaeological Heritage Conservation, Close Range, 3D Scanning, Databases, Visualization, Stone Age Artifacts.
In certain areas, such as the Middle Rhine Region in Germany, stone age artifacts can be found in large quantities on top soils of
farmland. Since more than 40 years amateur archaeologists, in cooperation with the Bodendenkmalpflege (curators for archaeological
monuments) in Mainz, are collecting these objects and store them, after registration, in their homes. In a joint research project,
archaeologists and engineers have developed a procedure to document these artifacts and make them available in a virtual collection.
A GOM ATOS II close range scanner, operating on a light pattern triangulation principle, is used to record a complete 3D point
cloud representation of the stones’ surfaces. Considerable effort has been taken to increase the speed of the recording process which
involves the execution and combination of up to a dozen of scans from different aspects. Subseqently, the single scans have to be
merged using two-dimensional and three-dimensional reference points. Following a 3D meshing procedure, the surface points are
thinned. The 3D virtual object can be linked with a database containing further information such as material, usage, weight, place of
present storage, etc. Coordinates for the locations where the objects were collected are also stored in order to create a GIS. Certain
geometric properties such as size and volume can be derived from the virtual object and introduced into the database. This policy
makes the artifacts of the private collectors available to archaeological science and allows objective studies and comparisons.
Interactive 3D visualization can be used to inspect and evaluate the artifacts when the data are distributed on digital data storage
media. A special interactive viewer was designed for use in the Internet. Additional features such as visualization tools for local
curvature and an automatic derivation of outlines for 2D drawings were developed in order to supply objective tools for inspection
and publication.
The Middle Rhine Valley between Bingen and Koblenz has
recently been added to UNESCO’s World Heritage List of
cultural landscapes. The Neuwied Basin north of Koblenz is a
rich archaeological area. Evidence of human settlement is present
very early in this region. Since the 1960s systematic excavations
have been undertaken here on different sites. Miesenheim I
(494.000 B.P.) and Kaerlich Seeufer (about 350.000 B.P.) gave
us new information about subsistence strategies of lower
Paleolithic man. Middle Paleolithic hunting strategies and
behavior could be studied on sites like Schweinskopf/Karme-
lenberg, Wannen, Toenchesberg 2 and Plaidter Hummerich. Our
knowledge about Upper Paleolithic living conditions, site
organization, technical abilities and art has been enriched by
sites like Andernach and Goennersdorf. South of Bingen we
have to mention the Middle Paleolithic site of Wallertheim and
the Gravettien sites Mainz-Linsenberg and Sprendlingen. All
these excavations are well documented. The area between the
Neuwied Basin in the north and Wallertheim in the south has
not been under regular archaeological investigation for a long
time, however.
Besides artifacts that are recovered by systematic excavations,
many objects can be found scattered over large areas, especially
on the various fossil gravel terraces of the rivers Rhine and
Nahe. Usually they are brought to the surface on fields that have
been repeatedly ploughed over many years. Since more than 40
years amateur collectors, in cooperation with the Bodendenk
malpflege (curators for archaeological monuments) in Mainz,
are working on this surface sites. A scientific evaluation of
these objects has not yet been possible because archaeologists
do not have the resources to collect and examine all these
findings. For that reason the research project “Paleolithic Land
Use in Rheinhessen” was initiated. The principle aim of this
project is to get an overview over these, in some cases, huge
private collections.
Up to now material from more than 50 different localities has
been treated. During this work it turned out that different collec
tors were working on the same sites, without knowing from
each other. These collections have to be brought together again
in a way that a scientific evaluation of the whole material
becomes possible and manageable. A related problem that
appears during studying the different collections is how to make
the large inventories available to other archaeologists and other
persons with an interest in stone age archaeology. Because the
amateur collectors picked up huge amounts of material, with an
emphasis on tools and retouched items, the traditional way of
drawing all these artifacts is nearly impossible.
Archaeologists and engineers started a joint project to develop a
method to make these artifacts available to scientific evaluation
without removing them from the private collections. This was a
prerequisite to assure the collector’s co-operation. The docu
mentation procedure developed relies on 3D scanning. The scan
results are visualized in different ways and can be linked to a
database and a geographic information system (GIS) which may
include information where the objects were picked up and
where their materials originally came from. The methods,
described below, proved very promising and can be used for
any archaeological artifacts and localities.