University of Southampton OCS (beta), CAA 2012

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Instruments and methods for the survey and analysis of amphitheatres
Martina Ballarin, Francesco Guerra, Luigi Sperti

Last modified: 2012-02-01


For many years the Laboratory of Photogrammetry of the System of the Laboratories belonging to IUAV University has been experimenting with instruments and methods for the photogrammetric and laser scanning survey in the field of archaeology. The laboratory was born for the study of architecture, but it also found a logical application field in the survey of archaeological architecture, that is those ancient monuments of which we still have remarkable parts in elevation.

The amphitheatre is one of the typologies we studied through several surveying campaigns. Concerning Grumentum (Basilicata), for example, we performed a terrestrial laser scanning and photogrammetric survey, which included aerial photos captured by a calibrated camera on a moored balloon.

The final results of this research were remarkably interesting, as we were able to produce a mapped 3D model, aereal ortophotos and photoplans of the wall surfaces. However, this experience highlighted some logistic problems connected to the management of the balloon.

The research is now oriented towards the use of UAVs, in particular quadricopters, that are easy to carry and allow a correct planning of the strip-runs composing the photogrammetric block.  The surveys undertaken until now and the ones that we are still planning will be the logical support for archaeological researches and analysis. Moreover though, they will also provide data to aliment a particularly fertile research of our University concerning the shape of the amphitheatres. In fact, geometrical figures can be recognised at the genesis of the forms of these monuments, also connected to some methods of the ancient traditional constructive  processes.

In the paper we will present the results of the researches conducted on the amphitheatres of Verona, Pompei and Grumentum, with particular attention to the methods of analysis and the new applications currently in progress on some other Italian amphitheatres.



M. Ballarin (Phd student Politecnico di Milano, temporary research assistant Laboratorio di Fotogrammetria, Sistema dei Laborati IUAV University)

F. Guerra (Associate Professor, Laboratorio di Fotogrammetria, Sistema dei Laborati, Università IUAV di Venezia

L. Sperti (Associate Professor, Università Ca’ Foscari di Venezia)



amphitheatre; laser scanner; photogrammetry; UAV;