Sunday, August 11, 2013

New Technology at Fort St. Joseph

Here at Fort St. Joseph our program extends beyond a typical field school experience, into extensive interaction with the public, but also into exploring new possibilities provided by technology.  Over the last few weeks here in Niles, I’ve been experimenting with digital recording of the fort site.   Every archaeological site documents excavations by taking photographs of the walls and floors of units.   By implementing a series of 50-70 photographs taken from various angles, we are able to compile a 3D image of some of the open units at the site. 
            The possibilities provided by this technology are endless.  Not only does it provide a more complete record than a regular illustration or drawing, but also allows for a completely different look at the artifacts and features within.  After the season has ended and the excavation units are backfilled, there is a lasting image of layout and provenience of rocks and artifacts at a certain level. 
            In order to compile these images I’ve been using a freeware program called 123D Catch.  This program is able to produce realistic models taken from an ordinary DSLR camera.  Even better they have a mobile app that produces a similar file.  All the images are uploaded to the programs cloud and processed into a 3D model.  The model can then be edited and painted.  The following videos are examples of our currently open units.

The uses of digital technology and 3D modeling of an archaeological site provide great potential for research, as well as community and public engagement.  I hope to further explore the applications of utilizing 3D technology in the field of archaeology and at Fort St. Joseph in the future.



Sue Reichert said...

Pretty awesome!

Ken said...


Great work! Very impressive! Nice working with you this summer.

Ken Sarkozy