Alumni and Friends Fund for the ACE photogrammetry team — introducing this year’s projects

Posted on: 11 December 2019 by Ardern Hulme-Beaman in 2019 posts

Part of the photogrammetry team, from left to right: Marie Kosnes Lindseth (BA Egyptology), Ardern Hulme-Beaman (Leverhulme Early Career Researcher), Tamar Atkinson (BA Egyptology), Chelsey Hulbert (BA Egyptology), Sarah McBride (BSc Archaeology), Jack Young (MRes Evolutionary Anthropology), Charlotte Sargent (PhD Egyptology), Chris Bebbington (PhD), Kaitlyn McGann (BA Egyptology)*

Ardern Hulme-Beaman, Leverhulme Trust Early Career Fellow with the department, shares the progress of the ACE photogrammetry team and their plans for the future.

As many of you will (hopefully!) be aware, over the last year a small photogrammetry team formed in the department. Now it is establishing itself as a permanent fixture and has just received an Alumni and Friends Fund grant! Over the last few months the photogrammetry team has rapidly expanded with a team of a dozen or so students (and the occasional staff member) wrangling thousands of photographs to build 3D objects and working towards various projects all with a view to learning, refining and integrating photogrammetry into ACE research.

With such a large and expanding team (it’s open to all and everyone is welcome) the team was becoming in desperate need of additional camera equipment, particularly as the departmental equipment is in increasingly regular use for other research. The Alumni and Friends Fund will provide the team with its own cameras and photographic equipment ensuring it can continue work and develop projects even when departmental equipment is loaned out for other activities.

We’ve kicked off this year with a number of projects. Our first is to build a more diverse and engaging social media approach; we’ve been trying this out with the Garstang social media and Sketchfab accounts with great success (check out our series of #Caturday posts and blogs). We’ve begun to regularly populate the ACE Instagram account too to good effect and now we’re working with Dr Marina Escolano Poveda on some possible other social media ventures to combine all parts of the department, so watch this space and get involved. A reconstruction of a poorly Sphinx and #ThothThursdays are on their way!

We’ve also embarked upon a number of research projects — one of which, that tests different approaches to combining photogrammetry with image DStretch enhancement, has recently been submitted to a journal. DStretch enhances faded pigments, particularly in rock art, to allow better visualisation of the patterns. It has only been applied in combination with photogrammetry a few times and methods for the combination have not been tested or published on, so we’re hopeful this will prove to be a useful additional tool for archaeologists across a range of different interests and areas (Egyptian ceramics, Medieval graffiti and of course rock art). Next steps include reconstruction of difficult objects and more efficient processing of photogrammetry of small featureless objects. More of this is on the way.

DStretch applied to an example of Egyptian Dware pottery using 3 different methods (method e failed to reconstruct…). Keep an eye out for these models on the upcoming ACE Sketchfab account.

Finally our big ACE goal over the next few months is to build a departmental app, similar to the Before Egypt app, which will encompass all the current research in the department. To this end you will likely be hearing from us over the next couple of months as we will be looking to come up with objects that represent each member of the department, so get your thinking caps on and let us know what archaeological artefact (that we can photogrammetry!) best represents you.

*Absent team participants:

JR Peterson (HLC technician), Gina Criscenzo Laycock (Garstang Museum curator), Chris Scott (PhD Evolutionary Anthropology), Becca Sowerby (BA Archaeology), Sally Smart (BA Archaeology), Adam Appleton (MSc Archaeology), Irvine Walsh (BA Ancient History), Dan Socaciu (PhD Archaeology), Lucy Timbrell (PhD Evolutionary Anthropology), Aisha Arif (BA Archaeology of Ancient Civilisations), Clarissa Fowler (BSc Evolutionary Anthropology), Ozlem Saritas (PhD Zooarchaeology), Dr Violaine Chauvet (Lecturer in Egyptology).

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