QMT Features: October 2016
Pompeii: new secrets revealed
Mary Beard’s TV series used cutting edge 3D scanning technologies to unearth secrets of the ancient world

In the TV series ‘Pompeii New Secrets Revealed’ presenter Mary Beard, renowned classicist and TV historian, explored what life was like in one of the world’s most extraordinary and iconic archaeological sites.

Undoubtedly one of the most tragic gems of the Roman world, Pompeii has laid deep beneath the volcanic ashes of the Mount Vesuvius since the eruption of 79 AD. Utilising the latest in CT, laser and photogrammetric 3D scanning techniques viewers were able to peer inside the casts of Pompeii, reveal the position of slaves’ quarters hidden underground and examine in unprecedented detail the recently restored frescoes.

With help from expert Estelle Lazer and her team from University of Sydney the CT data and x-rays have allowed forensic archaeologists to challenge previous assumptions about their lives and discover the real identities behind the people unable to escape the eruption.

Captured in forensic detail, the scans of Pompeii represent one of the most comprehensive digitisations of Pompeii to date. Covering the whole archaeological site, the scans allow it to be explored like never before. The CT data, terrestrial laser scanning and aerial photogrammetry was captured on location in Pompeii over 10 days in September 2015.

ScanLAB Projects completed all data processing and graphics for the 60-minute documentary which was shown on the BBC in March this year. Transitioning seamlessly between live action footage and scan data, the programme showed Mary Beard as she appeared to wander through the pointclouds.

The ScanLAB team & drone pilot travelled to Pompeii in September 2015 with a traditional film crew and presenter Mary Beard. A CT scanner and technicians were provided from Phillips and housed onsite for the duration of the shoot.
The Amphitheatre and Cast Exhibition was scanned using two FARO Focus3D X 330. The limited amount access required both scanners to be present in the same room simultaneously.

Referencing was completed with 145mm spheres and the alignment of data was improved with additional scan to scan alignment in scene. Approaching the location from opposite ends, two scanners were used to capture this location. ½ Resolution scans from high vantage points were used to capture the location context, whilst the other team captured the fugitive figures and gardens. Referencing was completed with 145mm spheres.

To provide a graphic overview of the archaeological site, the team’s pilot flew a fixed wing survey drone over Pompeii. The images captured were processed in photogrammetry software (agisoft) to create a pointcloud which was merged with the datasets from the Focus X 330. 1250 images were taken in 6 separate flight paths over Pompeii.

All locations were aligned using FARO Scene 5.4 (at the time the latest version of Scene available). Following filtering and automatic target detection and successful target based alignment was completed for all locations. The locations were then globally aligned via csv to DGPS survey points. Colour processing was completed in PTGui before application to the scan data in FARO Scene.

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Rob Tremain Photographer
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