University of Southampton OCS (beta), CAA 2012

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Etruscanning 3D project. The 3D reconstruction of the Regolini Galassi Tomb as a research tool and a new approach in storytelling
Daniel Pletinckx, Raffaele Carlani, Irene Carpanese, Augusto Palombini, Christie Ray, Eva Pietroni

Last modified: 2012-02-08


The Regolini Galassi tomb in Cerveteri, discovered in 1836 by the priest Alessandro Regolini and the general Vincenzo Galassi, is one of the most remarkable Etruscan graves we know. Despite the fact that many scholars have studied this grave, certain mysteries remain about the tomb. Since the grave was discovered and documented, but not methodically excavated and since the objects were purchased by the Vatican Museums one year after the discovery, much of the information on the exact location of the objects within the tomb was lost. This explains the many different, often contradictory reconstructions that were subsequently published.
By developing a 3D reconstruction of this tomb we have been forced to re-evaluate and re-interpret all of the available sources in order to seek answers to difficult questions and make a digital simulation. In order to use this tool in a transparent we are documenting the interpretation process in a blog, tracking any updates to this process, presenting the uncertainty in creating the reconstructions, securing the data, and, finally, for enabling and facilitating multidisciplinary research.
The project has been developing through a complex methodological approach; from the collection of existing data, to new topographical digital acquisition. Several ontologies of data have been acquired and elaborated: point clouds from laser scanner, photogrammetric data, computer graphics and GIS. From the 3D model of the tomb as it exists today, we have obtained a new model to present the tomb as it could have been in Etruscan age; with the objects contextualized inside, based upon historical sources and archaeological interpretation. The same we made for the objects, through a complex work of digital restoration in collaboration with experts. The final virtual reconstruction has been optimized to be implemented in an innovative VR application using natural interfaces and destinated to european and italian museums. All the interpretative and technological aspects will be presented in this paper.
Virtual storytelling is another fundamental element of the project. We are dealing with new storytelling approaches, directly connected with the experiments in the interaction.
The project is still in progress and will be concluded in 2013 but we have presented the VR application, in its first results, in occasion of some important exhibitions in Amsterdam, and Paestum, in order to test the public reaction. In these cases we began a monitoring activity on the public through an observational (non-interactive) methodology, that we consider fundamental to understand how these new approaches impact the public favour and expectations. In the paper we'll refer about this aspect.


Virtual reconstruction, digital restoration, Etruscans, topograohical acquisition, laser scanner, dense stereo matching,storytelling, Virtual Reality, Public monitoring