Developing a 3D strategy: Pipelines and recommendations for 3D structured light scanning of archaeological artefacts

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Archaeology has faced increased pressure to digitise collections and make artefacts available and accessible to a wider audience. 3D imaging involves producing a 3D digital or printed model of an object or site. 3D models have the potential to augment the traditional approaches to museum engagement whilst breaking down the barriers to access, whether through providing 3D printed proxies in museums or sharing digital models online. 3D imaging has clear value in archaeology and public engagement but there is no standardisation or accessible pipelines available for achieving professional 3D imaging output. There is very little consensus in 3D modelling and worldwide, digital collections are being created with no methodological consistency. This research observed each stage necessary for producing high-quality 3D models with structured light scanning (SLS) technology. SLS was effective on a range of textures that may be encountered in archaeological scenarios, although highly reflective objects, or pale objects with black areas, may fail to be captured even with an altered strategy. In order to make the 3D model most representative of the archaeological find, it is recommended that a range of scanner settings such as brightness or shutter speed are tested on the object before committing these settings to the rest of the scans. Generalised 3D scanning pipelines are provided to inform archaeological teams on a 3D digital and printing strategy.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere00338
JournalDigital Applications in Archaeology and Cultural Heritage
Early online date23 Apr 2024
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2024

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