Tanum Rock Art Museum Sweden

3D METHODS AS DOCUMENTATION TECHNIQUE FOR ROCK ART

 
 
Archaeology Rock Art Petroglyphs Pictographs Tanum Sweden Scandinavian Bronze Age Prehistoric Culture
Aspeberget Tanum 12 photographed from three levels. The approx. 1200 photographs generates a 3D model of over 650 Mb. Photo: SHFA 2015
Structure from Motion (SfM) is an user-friendly, low budget way of creating three dimensional models from two dimensional photographs. The method has found its way into the documentation of rock art in recent years. The application on rock art has been developed by the Swedish Rock Art Research Archive (SHFA), primarily in Tanums World Heritage Area. The pilot project, Laser scanning commissioned by Länsstyrelse Väst, (County of Västra Götaland) at Aspeberget was very succesful. It is a non-invasive, objective documentation method that is relatively easy to apply in the field that has the potential to become the standard in rock art documentation in the future.
 
Whilst it appears that the implementation of 3D documentation within rock art research is still in its infancy, a more elaborate discussion is needed. Nevertheless, there is little doubt that the documentation of rock art through Structure from Motion, or similar methods to create 3D models, has the potential to become the standard for the future. It is a non-tactile, objective and simple method of documentation, which is least harmful to the rock, and will allow researchers to simulate a visit to the site.
 
Aspeberget Tanum 12 Sweden Rock Art Petroglyphs Pictographs Prehistoric Culture Archaeology
At the same time, we should not forget that the obtained result, as with all other methods of documentation, remains only a representation of the original surface, and that the models created can be more detailed and objective than others. Even the ultimate documentation of a rock surface is a reproduction that will reveal inconclusive and / or interpretative details that require more research. No documentation, regardless of its accuracy, will be able to replace the research carried out on the rock itself, particularly finger-tip inspection and the resultant dialogue with the rock surface and its imagery that this skill generates. (Ellen Meijer, Tanum Rock Art Museum)
 
Archaeology Rock Art Petroglyphs Pictographs Tanum Sweden Scandinavian Bronze Age Prehistoric Culture Archaeology Rock Art Petroglyphs Pictographs Tanum Sweden Scandinavian Bronze Age Prehistoric Culture Archaeology Rock Art Petroglyphs Pictographs Tanum Sweden Scandinavian Bronze Age Prehistoric Culture
Night photography Rubbing SfM
'The Acrobat' from Aspeberget (Tanum 14) reproduced with the three objective documentation methods: night photography (left), rubbing (center) and SfM (right). Each show a similar amount of information. (Photo: Ellen Meijer, rubbing: Tanums Hällristningsmuseum Underslös, SfM: SHFA, Ellen Meijer)
 
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