Comparability of Photogrammetry and Laser Scanners for Generating 3D Surfaces for Archaeological Questions

Author(s): Anna Lockhart

Year: 2019


This is an abstract from the "SAA 2019: General Sessions" session, at the 84th annual meeting of the Society for American Archaeology.

Three-dimensional modeling has become an invaluable tool in many areas of archaeology, including bioarchaeological contexts. 3D modeling can increase the scope and scale of many research questions by, for example, allowing for the use of geometric morphometrics to provide high-resolution anatomical information. Unfortunately, rendering 3D surface data has traditionally required expensive equipment, limiting access to many researchers, especially students. Photogrammetry, which converts a series of 2D images into a 3D object, may provide a less expensive alternative for creating 3D models. This study compares the accuracy of 3D cranial models generated using photogrammetry to the physical crania and models derived from a laser scanner. Photogrammetry models were generated from photos taken with Canon Rebel T4i and Agisoft Photoscan software, while the laser scans were produced with NextEngine scanner. Results show high fidelity between the real crania and virtual models. Based on standard craniometric measurements, photogrammetry produced models of similar accuracy to that of the scanner and the crania, with the resulting models deviating < 5% from true cranial measurements. Therefore, in addition to reducing processing time, improving texture resolution, and being easier and less expensive to use, photogrammetry appears to be a reliable alternative for analyzing and disseminating archeological data.

Cite this Record

Comparability of Photogrammetry and Laser Scanners for Generating 3D Surfaces for Archaeological Questions. Anna Lockhart. Presented at The 84th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Albuquerque, NM. 2019 ( tDAR id: 449986)

This Resource is Part of the Following Collections

Spatial Coverage

min long: -82.441; min lat: -56.17 ; max long: -64.863; max lat: 16.636 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 25557