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Clear Views from the Ground: 3D Modeling of Architecture and Rock Art from Chaco to Anguilla

Author(s): John Crock ; Patricia Crown ; Wetherbee Dorshow

Year: 2015

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Airborne LiDAR and orthophotography are increasingly ubiquitous in modern archaeological research, particularly at the regional scale. For detailed intrasite analyses of architectural sites, rockshelters, and caves, however, these airborne technologies offer limited utility. This paper highlights the significant research potential and conservation value of very high-resolution terrestrial LiDAR and gigapan HDR photogrammetry for architectural and "built" cultural dwelling places. Drawing on two unique case studies from the American Southwest and the northeastern Caribbean, we explore the benefits of very high-resolution 3D modeling, visualization and analysis afforded by these increasingly affordable, relatively user-friendly "terrestrial" technologies. The first case study focuses on 3D laser scanning and spherical panoramic HDR photography within Room 28 in Pueblo Bonito at Chaco Canyon. Room 28 is notable for the discovery of hundreds of ceramics vessels in the burned room, including the majority of Chacoan cylinder jars. The second case study entails laser scanning at two Amerindian ceremonial cave sites in Anguilla in the Lesser Antilles, one of which (Fountain Cavern), was previously nominated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Analysis-based discoveries and extremely accurate digital reconstructions derived from these studies show significant potential for understanding, documenting and protecting rare, inaccessible and unique sites such as these.

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Clear Views from the Ground: 3D Modeling of Architecture and Rock Art from Chaco to Anguilla. Wetherbee Dorshow, Patricia Crown, John Crock. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 395046)


Anguilla Chaco LiDAR

Arizona State University The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Science Foundation National Endowment for the Humanities Society for American Archaeology Archaeological Institute of America