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Osteo-grammetry - Using Photographs to Rapidly Model Large Cemeteries in Three Dimensions

Author(s): Jürgen Van Wessel

Year: 2017

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Recent excavations at the nineteenth century St Peter’s Burial Ground, Blackburn (UK) are the first to demonstrate the immense value of photogrammetry for recording human remains on a large scale. Photogrammetry is the process of using photographs to record objects in a measurable way. Recent developments have made the technique accessible and capable of high levels of detail in both geometry and texture. These attributes make photogrammetry very appealing to archaeologists and it should now be considered part of the standard recording toolbox.

This paper presents the initial results of the individual photogrammetric recording of 2,000 burials. Both on-site and post-excavation processes will be discussed, demonstrating why it was by far the most appropriate technique for this type of project. The outputs have enabled a comprehensive re-stratification of the site, visualization of the density and depth of burial plots in 3D, and the spatial plotting of a wide range of osteological, artefactual and demographic datasets.

The technique has clear applications on North American sites, where rapid, high-quality recording of human remains and other archaeological material is crucial. This is especially true for rescue archaeology in areas affected by high erosion or development pressure.

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Osteo-grammetry - Using Photographs to Rapidly Model Large Cemeteries in Three Dimensions. Jürgen Van Wessel. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 430027)


Geographic Keywords

Spatial Coverage

min long: -11.074; min lat: 37.44 ; max long: 50.098; max lat: 70.845 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 16181

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