Mixing Methods The Use of 3D Techniques at the Ancient Villa of Capo di Sorrento

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Bernhard Fritsch
Steven Götz
Wolfgang Filser
Michaela Reinfeld
Christoph Klose
Paolo Vitti


Accompanying excavation activities in the area of the Roman luxury villa of Capo di Sorrento, 3D models of the landscape and relevant features have been created using mostly Structure-from-Motion (SfM) since 2015. With this method, it was possible to create a digital surface model of the excavation site combining terrestrial, aerial, and underwater photography. From this 3D model and other, more detailed sub-models of specific objects or areas, various new data were created that greatly enhance excavation documentation and the assessment of features. While some of these data, such as orthophotos generated from SfM models, are now standard practice on excavations, other products require more effort. The research project on the villa of Capo di Sorrento went beyond the results that were obtained from 3D models, and are usually presented as 2D pictures, to expand on the 3D data collected in the field in later work. In particular, the reconstruction of a grotto triclinium based on SfM models is combined with manual and tacheometric documentation to yield far-reaching insights into the architecture, furnishings, and orientation of the rooms on the north side of the pars maritima. Renderings of 3D data are used to simulate the views from certain points. This reconstruction is thus based on both the archaeological features and the specifications of the surface models and as such combines different methods of 3D processing, and fuses digital data with analog research results. Over the course of several excavation campaigns, a corpus of 3D products has grown within the research project. The respective methods of data acquisition, processing and analysis are primarily due to the landscape conditions of the study area. The detailed representation of the rocky subsoil – i.e. the heavily manipulated limestone plateau at the northern end of the cape – above and below water played a central role.


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Fritsch, B., Götz, S., Filser, W., Reinfeld, M., Klose, C., & Vitti, P. (2023). Mixing Methods: The Use of 3D Techniques at the Ancient Villa of Capo di Sorrento. Studies in Digital Heritage, 6(2), 25–50. https://doi.org/10.14434/sdh.v6i2.34835
Research Articles
Author Biographies

Bernhard Fritsch, German Archaeological Institute

German Archaeological Institute

Steven Götz, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin


Wolfgang Filser, University of Copenhagen

The Saxo Institute, Department of Archaeology

Christoph Klose, Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena

Institut für Altertumswissenschaften, Lehrstuhl Klassische Archäologie

Paolo Vitti, University of Notre Dame

School of Architecture


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