University of Southampton OCS (beta), CAA 2012

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The Restoration of Ceramics from Torre de Palma in Virtual and Augmented Reality, and the Implementation of CAD/CAM Technologies
Maria Helena Rua, Maia Langley

Last modified: 2011-12-17


The present project is a study of the use of modelling tools as a way of going beyond the limitations of the representation of two dimensional data (2D) and using the three-dimensional (3D) virtual reconstruction of ceramic elements obtained in archaeological excavations.

This work aims to use remote processing to reproduce objects without damaging the fragments. This can be achieved in two ways: by 3D digitalization of the remaining vestiges, when the equipment is accessible or through the digitalization of the graphic reconstructions of the objects, carried out by a specialist in this field. This is a situation which is more common by virtue of paper support constituting a process used over a good many years.

The present work is based on the use of traditional data (in paper) in order to reproduce the original object with fairly accessible procedures to any user of computer graphics. The use of virtual models makes it possible for us to measure, record and compare kinds of models automatically, in order to determine characteristics and alterations which could have occurred in the making of ceramic objects.

It’s a highly visual form, capable of transmitting cultural values, and has been used as a means of popularizing the collectors’ pieces in the (so-called) virtual museums. Nevertheless, other uses for the data thus obtained may be sought, which may well be much more interesting then simple imagery manipulation.

That is, it allows us to catalogue such elements automatically. But these technologies have to be subject to the same rules and norms of execution. Only through this establishment of standards it is possible to make comparisons between the basis design and changes during fabrication that, in their turn, can be accidental or wanton.

In turn, the association of additional information to the virtual pottery, such as the type of clay used in the making of the object, time in the kiln, and places that can be related to it (e.g. the place where it was manufactured and where it was found) and such details as are  made available by the Geographic Information Systems (GIS), is a way of knowing the size of the network of commercial exchanges in antiquity, That is, interrelating the data allows us to (establish and) analyze regional patterns.

The Use of three-dimensional prototyping equipment, enables to reproduce the original pieces, as now already occurs in same museums. Likewise, the equipment may be used as a practical tool for restoration, through the production of interior void of the ceramic elements in order to make a support on which to glue all the pieces of the same object.

And, in turn the Augmented Reality equipment makes possible the study of ergonomics, in particular to understand those aspects related to the utilization of these pieces but also to evaluate the needs of transportation and storage of the various ceramic objects, before the present packaging.


Ceramics; Virtual Model; Augmented Reality; Interaction; 3DPrototyping.