University of Southampton OCS (beta), CAA 2012

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Reverse Engineering Archaeological Artefacts
Vera Moitinho de Almeida, Juan Anton Barceló

Last modified: 2012-01-02


The main objective of our research is to understand possible relationships between the form and function(s) of archaeological artefacts, by developing a new methodology based on Reverse Engineering processes – i.e. 3D scan, quantitative data analysis and Artificial Intelligence techniques, in particular computer simulation. In addition, we intend to provide new data, as well as possible explanations of the archaeological record according to what it expects about social activities and working processes, by simulating the potentialities of such actions in terms of input-output relationships.

Our research project focuses on the Neolithic lakeside site of La Draga (Banyoles, Catalonia). On the one hand, this presentation aims to provide a clear overview and description of the main guidelines used to capture and process 3D digital data of several wooden artefacts. On the other hand, to present the use of automated and semi-automated surface feature extraction for use-wear analysis, as well as preliminary computer simulation tests using Finite Element Analysis to study specific physical and mechanical issues and therefore try to determine possible functions of these same artefacts.

Furthermore, we aim to reuse and to repurpose these 3D digital models in conservation monitoring, preservation, digital archives and other future researches.


3D scan, Artificial Intelligence, Computer Simulation, Finite Element Analysis, Quantitative Data, Reverse Engineering