Archaeology

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A central theme of the laboratory work is interdisciplinary collaboration. One of the strongest interdisciplinary collaborations is with archaeologists and anthropologists from several institutions around the world. Work in this regard focuses on how newly developed digital technologies such as 3D scanning and digital imagery and computational techniques associated with these technologies can contribute to solving difficult problems in archaeology and anthropology.

The following video is a quick animation showing a graphical depiction of 10 pottery fragments coming together to reconstruct a pot. The animation was generated from custom-designed software that takes as input 3D (x,y,z) measurements of the outer surfaces of a set of broken pottery fragments and outputs the "most likely" pots from which the fragments were generated.

The next video is similar to that above yet may be broken into three parts which provide additional information on how the solution was computed.

Part I

This part of the video is similar to that above. Initially only the fragments are shown (as differen colors).

Part II

This part of the video shows the matched axes for each fragment. The axes are local estimates of the true pot central axis which, if the pot was made on a potter's wheel, is shared by all of the fragments. For our computer model, this is equivalent to assuming the pot surface is well-represented mathematically as a surface of revolution (handles / spouts etc. violate this assumption). Each axis estimate appear as cylinder and the axis has a color and position appropriate to the fragment from which the estimate was obtained. For example, a blue fragment will have a blue axis having a position and orientation in the vicinity of that fragment in the position and orientation of the estimated associated pot axis.

Part III

This part of the video shows the local boundaries where each fragment pair was "STITCHED" together. Matched boundaries include 3D positions along each fragment boundary and the associated normal, i.e., surface orientation at each of the matched points. The normals allow us to join the fragment boundaries such that the outer surface connects together smoothly along the matched boundary. The points are shown as very small spheres and the normals at each point appear as very small cylinders emanating out of each sphere. The spheres and cylinders share the color of the fragment from which they orignated.

Data Collection Trip to 13th Century Crusader fortress in Herzilya-Pituach, Israel 

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From July 23, 2007 to August 2, 2007 Dr. Willis visited Herzilya, Israel on a data measurement campaign. The focus of the trip was the front gate and drawbridge to the Crusader fortress at Apollonia-Arsuf. Data collected included conventional digital imagery and a newly developed laser range scanner. Scan images will be made available throught the ShaRP 3D servlet link on the website.

The project is a collaboration between the UNC Charlotte Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Brown University, and Tel-Aviv University. Investigators on this project are examining how new measurement technologies can contribute to solving difficult problems in Anthropology and Archaeology.

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Project/Proposal Title : 3D Free Form Models for the Representation, Manipulation, and Recovery of Shape, with Applications to Archaeology and Virtual Sculpting

 Source of Support : Brown University (NSF IIS Sub-award)

 Description : This work extends existing techniques for automatically estimating the 3D structure of ceramic pots given measurements of their fragments. In parallel, archaeological database and database-search technologies developed at Sabanci University in Istanbul, Turkey were transferred to computer servers based at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.

Data Collection trip to 9th Century Mayan ruins in Mexico's Yucatan Penninsula 

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From June 17, 2007 to June 28, 2007 Dr. Willis visited Oxcutzcab, Mexico located on the Yucatan Peninsula. The purpose of the trip was to collect measurement data from exposed Mayan structures at two Mayan sites : Huntichmul and Kuic. The data was collected using conventional digital imagery and a newly developed laser range scanner. Scan images will be made available throught the ShaRP 3D servlet link on the website.

The project is a collaboration between Andrew Willis from UNC Charlotte and William Ringle from Davidson College and seeks to investigate how measurement technologies can contribute to solving difficult problems in Anthropology and Archaeology. 

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