Institute of Archaeology
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Susie Green

Structure from Motion as a Tool for Archaeological Research

My Research looks at the potential applications of 'Structure from Motion' (SfM) in archaeological prospection, analysis and recording.  I will be working in collaboration with English Heritage, who have granted access to sites and data and offered the benefit of their expertise. SfM is the creation of scaled 3d pointclouds from photographs that can be taken quickly with a handheld camera. Feature matching software matches points across a sequence of images, and uses these to determine the exact location of the camera for each image. This information is used to calculate the position of features in 3D space. The resulting pointcloud can be processed to create a 3D model or elevation map. This technique allows the recording of surface detail at a precision, cost and speed that can compare favourably with topographic survey, LiDAR and laser scanning, and photogrammetry. This research builds upon my past professional experience in 3d modelling and on a successful pilot study I developed for my Masters dissertation. Only open source software will be used, and this will be developed to bring the technique within the reach of the average archaeologist and to integrate technologies specific to archaeological needs, such as the ability to georeference 3D objects. My research focuses on a particular area of archaeological study, looking at a sequence of contemporary prehistoric monuments in the UK. It considers the applications of SFM as a prospection tool to further our archaeological understanding. These include the investigation of earthworks through capture of images from a kite/pole/UAV, the investigation of structure through the capture of the interior and exterior of a feature, and the virtual recreation of destroyed archaeology through the use of heritage images. The results of this research will be used to demonstrate the potential use of SfM as a cheap and fast tool for recording information and for the dissemination of this in the form of 3D models that are easily understood by the public.

Funding organisation

  • Economic and Social Research Council

Supervisors

 Educational background

  • BA, Photography, Glasgow School of Art, 1994
  • MPhil, 2D and 3D Motion Graphics, Glasgow School of Art, 2000
  • MSc, GIS and Spatial Analysis for Archaeology, UCL, 2011
  • The process of creating a 3D pointcloud using SfM
  • Georectified elevation and colour maps using  SfM and photographs captured by Kite
  • Using SfM to measure subsidence at Fishbourne Roman palace

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