New applications of 3D modeling in artefact analysis: three case studies of Viking Age brooches
Number of Authors: 3
2016 (English)In: Archaeological and Anthropological Sciences, ISSN 1866-9557, E-ISSN 1866-9565, Vol. 8, no 4, 651-662 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Three-dimensional (3D) laser scanning is a nondestructive and versatile technique that provides archaeologists with 3D models of archaeological and ethnographic objects. We have previously shown that 3D models facilitate shape analysis of archaeological bones and stone tools, due to the high measurement accuracy inherent in the latest generation of 3D laser scanners. Here, we explore the utility of 3D modeling as a tool for analyzing Viking Age metal artefacts with complex morphologies. Four highly ornate Viking Age brooches from Scandinavia and Russia were digitized with a portable laser scanner, and the resulting 3D models were used in three case studies of (a) artefact reconstruction, (b) tool mark analysis, and (c) motif documentation. The results revealed both strengths and limitations of the employed techniques. 3D modeling proved to be very well suited for artefact reconstruction and was helpful also in the stylistic and motif analysis. The tool mark analysis was only partially successful, due to the resolution limits of the laser scanner used. 3D-based motif analysis of a grandiose Scandinavian-style brooch from Yelets, Russia, identified an anthropomorphic figure with a bird-like body that previously has been overlooked. This figure may be a Rurikid coat of arms, possibly linking the object to a princely household and providing further evidence for a connection between Scandinavia and the Rurikids. As 3D technology keeps improving, we expect that additional applications for 3D modeling in archaeology will be developed, likely leading to many new findings when old objects are re-analyzed with modern techniques. However, our results indicate that 3D modeling cannot completely replace traditional artefact analysis-instead, we argue that the two approaches are best used in combination.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2016. Vol. 8, no 4, 651-662 p.
3D laser scanner, Archaeometry, Artefact autopsy, Digital reconstruction, Scandinavian studies
Sociology History and Archaeology Earth and Related Environmental Sciences
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-139297DOI: 10.1007/s12520-014-0200-9ISI: 000390015400002OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-139297DiVA: diva2:1074455