3D renderings of ancient monuments are fast becoming an important tool in modern archaeology.

One of the goals of the Million Image Database Project is to produce life-like 3D virtual models of at risk, damaged, and destroyed architectural archaeological objects.

Our in-house photography team and our network of volunteers perform site surveys using a combination of conventional and stereo (3D) photography to enable accurate computer renderings to be produced. These renderings can then be used to create engaging interactive virtual experiences of the ancient sites they belong to.

Our computer models can also provide the basis for the construction of full-scale replicas of architectural objects using computer-controlled 3D printing and machining techniques. Such technologies have huge potential as a platform for the large-scale reconstruction of sites damaged by human conflict or natural disaster.

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The best computer models can capture surface detail and texture with astonishing accuracy.

 

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The anaglyph is a simple yet powerful way to display 3D images.

Stereo photographs are taken using cameras which simultaneously capture images from two slightly different viewpoints when the shutter is pressed.

The images can be displayed in a number of ways but the most accessible without specialist equipment — and arguably therefore, one of the best —  is the red-cyan anaglyph. When viewed through a very simple and inexpensive pair of “3D glasses” with coloured lenses, the objects in the photographs appear to jump out of the page. You can even make your own pair of glasses at home: click here to find out how.

Such representations of ancient sites are not only useful aids to the production of 3D models, but give the viewer a far greater sense of the atmosphere of the scene they are looking at than a conventional 2D photograph.