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Deciphering Roman inscriptions in 3D

Deciphering Roman inscriptions in 3D: Virtual Epigraphic Science

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  • Timeframe: 2014-2015
  • Lead Institution: Fundación Española para la Ciencia y la Tecnología – Ministerio de Economía y Competitividad (FECYT-MINECO), Universidad de Las Palmas de Gran Canaria (ULPGC)
  • Participants Institution: Museo Arqueológico Nacional, Departamento de Ciencias Históricas de la Universidad de Las Palmas de Gran Canaria
  • Lead researcher: Manuel Ramírez Sánchez (ULPGC)
  • MAN researcher: Ángeles Castellano
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This innovative scientific project combines experience in basic humanities research with graphics engineering technology to make Roman inscriptions available to the general public by digitising and modelling them in 3D. During this pilot experience, scans and 3D models of Roman inscriptions will be made using the technique that offers the best results at the lowest cost. The technique employed is Image-Based Modelling (IBM), which uses solid photogrammetry to turn a conventional photograph into a three-dimensional image by applying the principles of Structure from Motion (SfM); these make it possible to obtain the three-dimensional structure of any object by processing motion data collected over a certain period of time. This initial experience, in which 37 Roman inscriptions were successfully modelled, promises to lead to more ambitious projects in the future that will incorporate the three-dimensional models of epigraphic objects in specialised databases and scientific innovation projects applied to university-level epigraphy studies.

The 37 selected inscriptions can be viewed on any computer or mobile device connected to the internet, giving users access to high-resolution images of these archaeological materials in which every detail of the inscriptions is clearly visible.

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