Cassandra Ferrante '21: Drawing in 3D-Archaeological Research of Paestum, Italy

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Photogrammetry is the technique of obtaining measurements of an object using a series of photographs. The digital technique can be used to generate reliable 3D models. I wanted to learn more about photogrammetry as it is used in documenting archaeological finds and capturing underwater shipwrecks. Photogrammetry can be used to ensure certain vulnerable artifacts, such as a submerged merchant vessel, are recorded and can be studied even if the original model has succumbed to environmental degradation.

There are several photogrammetry softwares available for different purposes, but I chose Agisoft Metashape since it is used for archeological and geological research. To learn how to use Agisoft Metashape software, I created a 3D model of the Temple of Athena in Paestum, Italy. In the summer of 2018, I joined Professor Ammerman for her field season in Paestum where we got to practice archaeology in the field. We dug in two trenches immediately adjacent to the Temple of Athena. We found several fascinating artifacts that summer, but we had to keep the finds in the Paestum museum. I wanted to learn a digital technique that would allow us to study a 3D model of the artifacts in the U.S. without traveling back on a plane to Paestum every time.

3D models can provide a virtual means of accessing artifacts from multiple disciplines. It is an exciting point in time as 3D models have taken over many fields, including paleontology. I hope to continue developing my photogrammetry skills in order to apply them to (in-person!) archaeological research. In this way, I hope to continue preserving and documenting archaeological discoveries for future generations to study.