Open Conference Systems, Kainua 2017

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Scanning and visualization of Roman Adriatic townscapes
Frank Frank Vermeulen

Last modified: 2017-03-21


Since 2000 a team from Ghent University has achieved intensive non-invasive intra-site prospections on four abandoned Roman towns in central Adriatic Italy (Marche region): the coastal colony of Potentia and the inland municipia of Ricina, Trea and Septempeda. These urban surveys include total coverage geophysical prospections (such as GPR, geomagnetic and earth resistance approaches), low altitude aerial photography (including NIR photography with drone and helikite), geomorphological augerings, surface artifact collection, and micro-topographical field measurements. A GIS-based integration of all survey data, maps and re-studied legacy data has procured a formidable database for the computer-aided digital 3D mapping and interpretation of these complex ancient sites. The methodological acquisitions and archaeological results not only contribute to the understanding of Roman urbanization in this part of Italy, but also support and innovate the use of integrated approaches to geospatial mapping and analysis of ancient urban environments. Based on the work in the EC funded project Radio-Past, and on earlier experience with 3D visualizations of the  Roman town of Ammaia in Lusitania (, the project moves now towards presenting the new data in digital formats that allow specialists from archaeology and cultural heritage management, as well as the wider public to immerse into the visual world of Roman Republican and Imperial townscapes of an Adriatic valley and its coastal environment. Via the production, in collaboration with the company 7Reasons, of an animated film and interactive realtime applications, the Past of these large and complex sites will come alive again. During the presentation advanced ways of data acquisition, processing, architectural analysis, and virtual presentation will be discussed.