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A Simple Photogrammetry Rig for the Reliable Creation of 3D Artifact Models in the Field

Lithic Examples from the Early Upper Paleolithic Sequence of Les Cottés (France)

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  16 January 2017

Samantha Thi Porter
Department of Anthropology, University of Minnesota, 395 Humphrey Center, 301 19th Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55455, United States (
Morgan Roussel
Leiden University, Van Steenis Building, Einsteinweg 2, 2333 CC Leiden, Netherlands (
Marie Soressi
Leiden University, Van Steenis Building, Einsteinweg 2, 2333 CC Leiden, Netherlands (


Three-dimensional (3D) artifact modeling is becoming an increasingly utilized tool in archaeology. In comparison with other methods of 3D scanning, photogrammetry has the benefits of being relatively inexpensive, mobile, and more adaptable for use in field conditions. As part of a larger project to document variability in lithic production systems across the Middle to Upper Paleolithic Transition in Western Europe, we developed a photography rig for the express purpose of systematically capturing images for the creation of 3D photogrammetric models. This low-cost rig greatly streamlines both the photo-taking and post-processing stages of model creation. Additional tips relating to the coating of difficult-to-capture objects with a mineral spray are also provided. Three-dimensional models of lithic cores from the Châtelperronian, Protoaurignacian, and Early Aurignacian levels of the site of Les Cottés (France) are presented as examples of the quality of model that can be produced using this system.

Modelar artefactos en 3D se está convirtiendo en una de las herramientas más utilizadas en arqueología. En comparación con otros métodos de modelado en 3D, el registro de la fotogrametría tiene las ventajas de ser relativamente barato, móvil, y más adaptable para usar en condiciones de campo. Como parte de un proyecto para documentar la variabilidad en los sistemas de producción lítica a través de la transición del Paleolítico Medio al Paleolítico Superior en la Europa del Oeste, una plataforma de fotografía fue desarrollada con el propósito expreso de tomar fotografías para la creación de modelos fotogramétricos 3D. Esta plataforma de bajo coste agiliza en gran medida tanto la toma de fotografías como las etapas de post-procesamiento de la creación del modelo. También, se proporcionan consejos adicionales relativos al recubrimiento los objetos difíciles de capturar en un aerosol mineral. Los modelos 3D de los núcleos líticos de la Chatelperroniense, Protoauriñaciense, y los niveles del Auriñaciense antiguo del sítio de Les Cottés (Francia) se proporcionan como ejemplos de la calidad del modelo que se puede producir usando este sistema.

Research Article
Copyright © Society for American Archaeology 2016

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