The EU project ‘3D-Pitoti’ researched prehistoric rock carvings by means of modern media technology in North Italy. In doing so, processes for 3D scans and an automatic analysis of data were developed. These techniques could also be used in the industry in the future.
Ancient art, modern technology
In the North Italian valley Val Camonica people of prehistoric cultures carved more than 50.000 petroglyphs, so-called Pitoti, in stone. These mostly thousands of years old drawings are very difficult to access and may be very easily destroyed.
The EU project 3D-Pitoti recorded the carvings and made them with the help of modern media technology accessible to a wide audience in the last three years. The use of 3D cameras, drones and new methods of analysis facilitated the work of archaeologists.
Third dimension of rock carvings
In the course of the project 3D-Pitoti the three-dimensionality of the petroglyphs was examined and recorded for the first time. In this project, the St. Pölten UAS worked under the direction of the University of Nottingham on the development of intelligent data processing technologies. They aimed at detecting inherent structures in the 3D data of the recorded petroglyphs and at making them usable.
Improved cultural heritage preservation
A further participant in the project was the German Company ArcTron 3D. Its field of expertise includes surveying and alignment by applying methods of 3D laser scanning and of photogrammetry.
“For us, the intensive cooperation with diverse academic partners was highly interesting. We consider the contribution of the St. Pölten UAS enabling a pattern recognition in 2D and 3D as particularly valuable and forward-looking. In case this approach was to be further pursued in the future, numerous possibilities to recognize and classify automated structures in 3D data would arise especially for researchers of archaeology and cultural heritage preservation. At the moment, this technique of pattern recognition is implemented in this current project on prehistoric rock art, but this technology will open up manifold new perspectives in this field’, says Martin Schaich, accomplished archaeologist and CEO at ArcTron 3D.
The technology of the St. Pölten UAS was awarded ‘Best Paper Award’ at the internationally leading Digital-Heritage-Conference in Granada in 2015.
Application in the industry
“In the project and together with partners, we developed machine-learning-processes for a surface classification: processed surfaces are distinguished from unprocessed ones and huge amounts of 3D data are automatically processed to recognize patterns. This may also be used for imaging processes in the industry like for material testing, for analysis of surfaces or in quality control”, says Seidl. Thus, fine craters and cracks could be detected on milled surfaces for example. Such possible applications are an example of the use of modern media technology in the so-called ‘Industry 4.0’.
Recently, Markus Seidl has been a guest on this issue at a “Campus Talk” on Campus & City Radio 94.4. Listen to the whole programme (in German):
The project “3D Pitoti – 3D acquisition, processing and presentation of prehistoric European rock-art” is financed by the EU in the framework of the 7th Framework programme. Project partners are University of Nottingham (Human Factors Research Group/Faculty of Engineering, direction), the University of Cambridge, the Bauhaus University Weimar, the University of Technology Graz, the ARCTRON 3D GMBH as well as ASSOCIAZIONE CENTRO CAMUNO DI STUDIPREISTORICI ED ETNOLOGICI. Duration: March 2013 to February 2016