Peer-reviewed publications

 On introducing an image-based 3D reconstruction method in archaeological excavation practice

De Reu J., De Smedt P., Herremans D., Van Meirvenne M., Laloo P., De Clercq W., 2014. Journal of Archaeological Science, 41: 251-262.

BS2-BoudeloABSTRACT. Image-based 3D modeling has already proven its value for the recording of excavations, however until now its application has remained rather small-scale. We have examined the possibilities and limitations of image-based 3D modeling in the recording of an entire excavation, and its impact on the workflow of the excavation process and the post-excavation processing. Our results suggest that image-based 3D modeling can be an excellent and suitable method for the recording, documentation and visualization of the excavated archaeological heritage. It offers great possibilities for increasing the quality of the archived archaeological excavation record. The high-resolution geometric information allows a straightforward quantification of the data. However it also brings along new challenges, including a change in the workflow of the excavation and the post-excavation process. Although there are limitations, these are greatly surpassed by the possibilities of the method. We believe that image-based 3D modeling can cause a(n) (r)evolution in archaeological excavation practice.


Towards a three-dimensional cost-effective registration of the archaeological heritage

De Reu J., Plets G., Verhoeven G., Bats M., Cherretté B., De Maeyer W., De Smedt P., Deconynck J., Herremans D., Laloo P., Van Meirvenne M., De Clercq W., 2013. Journal of Archaeological Science, 40(2): 1108-1121.

paardenABSTRACT. Archaeological practice within the European context of heritage management is facing huge challenges in ways of recording and reproduction of ex-situ preserved sites. As a consequence of the Valletta-treaty, numbers of archived images and drawings of excavated structures as prime sources of past human activity, are exponentially growing. Contrarily to portable remains however, their future study and revision is biased by the two-dimensional character of the recorded data, rendering difficult their future reconstruction for new study or public dissemination. A more realistic three-dimensional (3D) way of recording and archiving should be pursued. In this paper the possibilities for 3D registration of archaeological features are examined in a computer vision-based approach using the PhotoScan software package (Agisoft LCC). It proved to be a scientific and cost-effective improvement compared to traditional documentation methods. Advantages can be found in the high accuracy and straightforwardness of the methodology. The extraction of an orthophoto or a Digital Terrain Model from the 3D model makes it feasible to integrate detailed and accurate information into the digital archaeological excavation plan. The visual character of 3D surface modeling offers enhanced output-possibilities allowing a better documentation of in-situ structures for future research and a higher public participation and awareness for the archaeological heritage.


Orthophoto mapping and digital surface modeling for archaeological excavations. An image-based 3D modeling approach

De Reu J., De Clercq W., Sergant J., Deconynck J., Laloo P., 2013. In: Addison A.C., Guidi G., De Luca L., Pescarin S. (Eds.). Proceedings of the 2013 Digital Heritage International Congress. Volume 1. IEEE, Piscataway: 205-208.

Waterput-Draw-Text5-10ABSTRACT. We have examined image-based 3D modeling for the generation of orthophotos and digital surface models of archaeological surfaces and features. Our results suggest that image-based 3D modeling can be both a time-efficient and cost-effective as well as a scientific valuable method to document archaeological excavations. Although there are limitations, these are greatly surpassed by the possibilities. We believe that image-based 3D modeling can cause a(n) (r)evolution in archaeological excavation practice.


The 3-D reconstruction of medieval wetland reclamation through electromagnetic induction survey

De Smedt P., Van Meirvenne M., Herremans D., De Reu J., Saey T., Meerschman E., Crombé P., De Clercq W., 2013. Scientific Reports, 3: 1517.

geofysischABSTRACT. Studies of past human-landscape interactions rely upon the integration of archaeological, biological and geological information within their geographical context. However, detecting the often ephemeral traces of human activities at a landscape scale remains difficult with conventional archaeological field survey. Geophysical methods offer a solution by bridging the gap between point finds and the surrounding landscape, but these surveys often solely target archaeological features. Here we show how simultaneous mapping of multiple physical soil properties with a high resolution multi-receiver electromagnetic induction (EMI) survey permits a reconstruction of the three-dimensional layout and pedological setting of a medieval reclaimed landscape in Flanders (Belgium). Combined with limited and directed excavations, the results offer a unique insight into the way such marginal landscapes were reclaimed and occupied during the Middle Ages. This approach provides a robust foundation for unravelling complex historical landscapes and will enhance our understanding of past human-landscape interactions.


Integrating geomatics in archaeological research at the site of Thorikos (Greece)

Stal C., Van Liefferinge K., De Reu J., Docter R., Dierkens G., De Maeyer P., Mortier S., Nuttens T., Pieters T., van den Eijnde F., van de Put W., De Wulf A., 2014. Journal of Archaeological Science, 45: 112-125.

ABSTRACT. Archaeological excavation is a destructive process, making accurate, fast and efficient 3D documentation of information essential. With this in mind, our research uses an integrated workflow of topographic measurements and image-based 3D modelling to generate highly accurate reconstructions of archaeological features at the site of Thorikos, Greece. Topographic ground control points and images are acquired using a total station and consumer digital camera respectively, and processed in a highly automated workflow using Structure from Motion and Multiview Stereo reconstruction software. These models were generated on a daily basis in order to map the on-going of a field campaign at this archaeological site in 2012. Moreover, a management system is presented as a consultation and analysis application, enabling the interaction with the 3D models, accompanied with attribute data and metadata. For the efficiency of the management system it was essential to integrate the 3D models in a Harris matrix. This matrix functions as an intermediate between a graphical user interface and the database system. Additionally, two applications of these 3D models are presented, focussing on capacity calculations and in situ mapping (orthophoto mapping) of stone wall remains. The presented management system, the linking of 3D models with excavation data, and the use of 3D models as a scientific tool demonstrate the huge potential of 3D data for archaeological research.


Towards a Three-Dimensional Registration of the Archaeological Heritage of the Altai Mountains

Plets G., Gheyle W., Verhoeven G., De Reu J., Bourgeois J., Verhegge J., Stichelbaut B., 2012. Antiquity, 86(333): 884-897.

ABSTRACT. In the course of their research campaign in Siberia, Ghent University archaeologists have developed a simple and cost effective method for the rapid 3D imaging of rock art, standing stelae and surface monuments. Their procedure will undoubtedly have a big role to play in archaeological research in advance of the oil pipeline expected soon.


The deteriorating preservation of the Altaian rock art – Assessing three-dimensional image-based modelling in rock art research and management

Plets, G., Verhoeven, G., Cheremisin, D., Plets, R., Bourgeois, J., Stichelbaut, B., Gheyle, W., De Reu, J. 2012. Rock Art Research, 29(2): 139-156.

ABSTRACT. The unique rock art of the Russian Altai is increasingly suffering from human and natural processes. Without well-directed action and documentation it will be practically impossible to establish conservation initiatives and, eventually, many of these sites will be lost. This paper presents an overview of the different processes affecting this rock art, based on fifteen years of observations in the region and recent three-dimensional (3D) photorealistic documentation. A cost-effective 3D workflow for rock art recording and research is discussed as a possible way to tackle this worsening situation. The application of 3D documentation in rock art research has seen an explosive growth during recent years, but its use is still maturing and a strategy on how to deal with the models is still lacking.


Book review

 Holocene book review: 3D Recording and Modelling in Archaeology and Cultural Heritage: Theory and Best Practices

De Reu J., 2014. The Holocene 24(10): 1407-1408.

ABSTRACT. Review of Fabio Remondino and Stefano Campana (eds), 3D Recording and Modelling in Archaeology and Cultural Heritage: Theory and Best Practices (BAR International Series 2598), Archaeopress: Oxford, 2014; 171 pp.: ISBN 978140312309, £31.00 (pbk).


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