Palaeolithic Cave Art at Creswell Crags in European Context

By Paul Pettitt; Paul Bahn et al. | Go to book overview

4
3D Laser Scanning at Church Hole,
Creswell Crags

Alistair Carty


INTRODUCTION

The process of recording in situ archaeological art can be a time-consuming and complex task, especially on inaccessible and non-planar surfaces such as those found in Church Hole, Creswell Crags. There are considerable challenges to the recorder, including the accurate positioning and fixing of survey frames, the physical discomfort of sitting, crouching, or even lying down for long periods of time in cramped surroundings, and, ultimately, the difficulty in interpreting the panels to enable accurate recording. Furthermore, the more accurate forms of traditional recording include the taking of rubbings of the carvings, a process known to increase the potential of damage to already fragile artworks.

3D laser scanning offers solutions to most of these problems by quickly producing a highly dense fully three-dimensional surface map of the art which can be studied in more conducive circumstances by researchers at a later date. Furthermore, powerful visualization techniques can be applied to the 3D surface map to extract and enhance detail that might be virtually invisible to the naked eye. Over-arching the visualization and interpretational aspects of 3D laser scanning is the potential to use the acquired 3D surface map to monitor any change in the surface through repeated scanning over a period of time. This technique is suitable for detecting minute

The author acknowledges the support of Creswell Heritage Trust for permission to undertake the
surveys within Church Hole in 2003, John Borland of the RCAHMS for discussion on illustration
and lighting techniques, and Dr Gavin Miller for discussion and comments on accessibility shading.
Image reproduction credits: All scans and data-processing were undertaken by Archaeoptics Ltd.
and are reproduced courtesy of Creswell Heritage Trust.

-46-

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