In the past week myself and Gareth Beale have spent time capturing the subterranean areas of the Imperial Palace at Portus. We have been trialing the use of the Leica Scan Station C10 for archaeological documentation and the results so far appear very impressive.
All archaeological remains are subject to constant deterioration, this is especially true of substantial architectural remains such as the Imperial Palace. As well as suffering from the usual effects of weathering and exposure, large structures are also subject to additional stresses caused by their weight and the age and degradation of building materials. These stresses can be compounded through excavation and as such the use of 3D recording techniques can provide a valuable record of structural remains for further analysis and virtual conservation.
The use of a time of flight laser scanner such as the C10 allows us to record large areas of architecture quickly and at very high resolution. We have been recording the exposed areas of the Imperial Palace at 1cm resolution providing a record of the current form which will be of use to archaeologists and conservators across the world, providing virtual access to the remains as they currently exist. In addition these data will also have a significant legacy providing a record which will doubtless be of great utility to researchers and cultural heritage professionals in the future.
Below are a few images which highlight the laser scanner in action and document the unique capabilities of laser scanning for working under circumstances which would prove challenging with traditional modes of archaeological recording.