In a new project of the Archaeological Insitute of the University of Cologne, we document, reconstruct and gameify a famous burial chamber, that is otherwise difficult to access. The results of this project should be presented at the next AIAC in Cologne/Bonn.

© Sabrina Geiermann

This is a screenshot of a laser scan point cloud opened in CloudCompare. The burial chamber is partly seen at the bottom. © S. Geiermann

The burial chamber of Cologne-Weiden is one of the best-preserved roman burial chambers north of the alps and features  two stone chairs, three busts made of Carrara marble and a sarcophagus with reliefs. In a cooperation project by different departments of the university (Archaeoinformatics, Archaeology of the Roman provinces and the Regional Computing Centre), it is planned to document, reconstruct and virtually rebuild the burial chamber, to offer worldwide and unrestricted access to it and provide further information for educational purposes.

We therefore, thanks to the support of the TH Cologne, laser-scanned the chamber to create a detailed, georeferenced, colored point cloud as a first step. On this basis, we created a simplified 3D model of the burial chamber. We want to create a multi-purpose model to use in different scenarios: a) as visual aids for presentation and exhibition, b) as a sharable and web-friendly 3D model, so that there is the possibility to discover the burial chamber worldwide and c) as an immersive experience, so that the user is able to virtually enter the chamber itself with the help of so called head-mounted displays (HUDs).

In the following weeks and months, this point cloud will get meshed in a way, that we produce a textured and very detailed 3D model. On the basis of this, we will create several applications for this model, one of which will be a virtual environment in order to go into the burial chamber with the help of a HMD (Head-mouted display, like the Oculus Rift or HTC Vive).

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About the author

My name is Sebastian. I am a research associate at the Institute of Archaeology at the University of Cologne, Germany, Discipline for Archaeoinformatics. My special interest lies in reconstructing ancient architecture and thinking about ways to present archaeological knowledge to other researchers and the public in an informative and appealing way. I teach 3D documentation of material culture as well as 3D modelling and archaeological reconstruction and work on several projects as part of my job.

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