Academic year
2022/2023 Syllabus of previous years
Official course title
Course code
FM0503 (AF:354981 AR:208556)
On campus classes
ECTS credits
Degree level
Master's Degree Programme (DM270)
Educational sector code
4th Term
Course year
Go to Moodle page
The course is part of the Master’s Degree Programme in ‘Digital and Public Humanities’ and is connected to the Venice Centre for Digital and Public Humanities (VeDPH) in Ca' Foscari's Department of Humanities. The course aims at providing a general overview of the available 3D survey (reality-based modelling) and modelling methods (source-based modelling).
1. Knowledge and understanding:
• Knowledge of the theoretical and practical issues of Virtual Archaeology;
• General knowledge of the main reality-based and modelling techniques;
• Knowledge of Structure from Motion photogrammetry;
• Knowledge of X-ray microCT principles for cultural heritage.
2. Ability to apply knowledge and understanding:
• Ability to apply the methodologies of Virtual Archaeology to specific cases;
• Photogrammetric processing of digital images and creation of 3D spatial data.
3. Judgement skills:
• Ability to develop critical thinking skills with reference to Virtual Archaeology.
There are no pre-requirements.
The definition of Virtual Archaeology originally developed to indicate the acquisition and use of 3D models of ancient artefacts and structures and gradually included virtual reality and web technologies. The course provides a general overview of the available methods to effectively produce 3D documentation of archaeological sites/materials (reality-based modelling) and virtual archaeological reconstructions (source-based modelling), focusing on the application of Structure from Motion (SfM) photogrammetry and X-ray computed micro-tomography (microCT) to archaeology. SfM photogrammetry allows to create 3D spatial data of artefacts, buildings and landscapes using simple pictures, while micorCT, evolved from clinical CT scanning, provides a new important tool for the non-destructive 3D microstructural analysis of different types of "hard" materials. Its application to human fossil remains has generated a fundamental shift in paleoanthropological studies and its application to archaeological materials is gradually increasing to the point that a growing number of institutions have acquired or developed microCT systems. One of the main reasons of such large adoption of microCT instruments relies on its non-destructive capability to investigate the 3D external and inner structure of investigated samples.

Specific contents:

1. Introduction to Virtual Archaeology (VA)
2. Short history and theory of VA
3. VA (simulating 3D models) vs. Cyber-archaeology
4. 3D survey methods (reality-based modelling):
- Stereo vision
- Active triangulation: laser scanners and structured light full-field cameras
- Time of fight: PW / CW (or Phase Shifts) laser scanners and TOF cameras
5. Structure from motion (SfM) coupled with Multi Stereo Vision (MSV) photogrammetry
6. Behind the surface: 3D imaging of external and internal features of objects through microCT
7. MicroCT applications in archaeology
8. Use of 3D replicas: 3D GIS 3D reconstruction-modelling (source-based modelling)
9. Reproductions of 3D models
Lecture slides, readings, up-to-date papers about Virtual Archaeology will be made available. Main referral texts are reported below.
- Forte M., Campana S., eds., (2016). Digital Methods and Remote Sensing in Archaeology. Archaeology in the Age of Sensing. Springer.
- Bernardini F., Tuniz C., Zanini F. (2018). X-Ray Computed Microtomography for Paleoanthropology, Archaeology, and Cultural Heritage, in (eds. Lazzara G., Fakhrullin R.) Nanotechnologies and Nanomaterials for Diagnostic, Conservation, and Restoration of Cultural Heritage, Elsevier, 25-42.
Oral exam. Non-attending students should contact the professors to complete the program of the oral exam with additional readings.
Classes with activities in and outside the class, interaction between professor and students, fotogrammetry exercises. Attendance is strongly recommended. Whenever needed, the didactic material will be made available through the Moodle e-learning platform.
Definitive programme.
Last update of the programme: 02/09/2022