The Polychrome Statuary in Context project represents a collaboration between the Archaeological Computing Research Group at the University of Southampton and the Herculaneum Conservation Project.
The project draws upon predictive rendering methodologies and utilises high performance computing systems available at the University of Southampton in order to produce physically accurate hypothetical visualisations of Roman polychrome statuary.
The techniques and materials of Roman statue colouration are better understood than ever. Despite a proliferation of data, the intended appearance of Roman statues still remains poorly understood. The goal of this project is to use cutting edge physically accurate recording and rendering techniques to produce visualisations which can assist researchers in developing new hypotheses and exploring data.
The discovery in 2006 of the painted head of an Amazon statue in the area of the Basilica Noniana at Herculaneum provided a vivid reminder that colour formed an important and extremely complex part of Roman Statuary.
The Project represents an attempt to produce visualisations which are not simply believable but demonstrably physically accurate. Images produced using predictive rendering methodologies have great potential value to archaeology, as a means of illustrating existing interpretations but also as a means of testing and revising developing hypotheses within reliable and robust virtual environments.
The goal of this project is to develop and implement a recording, modelling, rendering and display pipeline which incorporates a high degree of physical accuracy whilst also being practically applicable in a conventional archaeological research setting. The project will allow the accurate visualisation of surviving statues and pigments as well as developing reliable methods for the hypothetical reconstruction of elements which no longer survive.
The methodology will promote the innovative use of technologies commonly available within archaeological research contexts as well as drawing upon cutting edge computation facilities and recording hardware where necessary. The project aims to limit reliance upon specialist recording equipment, and to produce a methodology, significant portions of which can be implemented outside of dedicated archaeological computing and computer science research centres.
The project is an AHRC funded collaboration between the Archaeological Computing Research Group at the University of Southampton and the Herculaneum Conservation Project. It is conducted with the assistance the British School at Rome, the University of Cambridge and the Warwick Manufacturing Group at the University of Warwick