The archaeology is one of the sciences that is experimenting a bigger evolution of here the emergence of the techs 3D. They are developing a lot of solutions that permit to recreate objects, rooms, situations. To abridge, could apply these new technicians at two big groups: the direct apps of the 3D at the traditional archaeology and, of other band, the nicknamed virtual archaeology devoted predominately at the divulging.

The first group is the direct applications of 3D to the techniques of traditional archeology. It is, in fact, a complement to the excavation documentation that helps the overall understanding of the deposits. To the traditional maps, photographs and drawings of plan and elevation of the sites and pieces are added new tools that help research.

Video of the Photogrammetric Lift made by 3iDem of the “Naveta of the Tudons”

In this first group could talk of the advance at the direct documentation of the deposits. We talk of representations stratigraphic of the deposits at 3D splitting of models photogrammetics or with scanners of the floor before uncover the excavation. With this can view the willingness detailed of an excavation previously and after the task of field to reconstruct continuums the details and improve the posterior survey. This group it affects directly at the scientific work and what facilitates is the survey and discussion among the professional archaeologists.

Video of the Photogrammetric Lift excavation Campelles (by Bruno Parés)

Secondly, within the direct applications of traditional archeology, we find pieces of restoration. Restoration is also taking advantage of new techniques. What was previously done directly on the remains found can now be done virtually, so it can be achieved by rebuilding a piece of ceramics as it would be at the moment, say, a face in from a photogrammetric study of bone remains. We have many applications in this field and in 3iDem we have already done this kind of task with subsequent 3D printing that allows us to compare the original with the restored model with our techniques

Examples of dishes restoration of the Monastery of La Murtra by 3iDem for the Museum of Badalona. Left photogrammetry of the original, reconstruction right (3D printed afterwards)


A second large group of applications are all those that help outreach and understanding for a non-specialist audience. They would be what is called Virtual Archeology and they understand different possibilities that open to museology and education.

Of all of these, the most spectacular results are virtual reconstruction. With it we can see, for example, a town as it would ideally be in the historical moment to which it belonged, or the agora of a Roman city. They are usually made with powerful rendering software using animation film techniques. The results are really good and allow you to “walk” around places that long ago disappeared. It’s a kind of virtual time machine.

Magnificent photogrammetric restitution work by Centcelles of the Archaeological Museum of Tarragona

These representations call for important prior work. You need to set the specific time to recreate (the sites are very long in time), then collect the archeological information obtained using the methods described above, and finally do the 3D reconstruction work that requires a large collection of information and very powerful programs and hardware for its development. We recommend that you look at the links we have put from the Ullastret and Roman Barcelona sites in 3D. These reconstructions are also used to make some of the modern video games that are used in places of the past.


At 3iDem we are convinced that this is a future field. We are determined to contribute and put our sand into the work we do on a daily basis.