Digital Curation of the 3D collection of the Archaeological Museum of Aidone (Sicily)

Lindsay Ryan (Fall 2021)

3D capturing

In 2017, 94 archaeological artifacts from the Archaeological Museum of Aidone (Enna, Sicily) were captured by the USF Institute for Digital Exploration (IDEx). These objects were captured at the museum using laser scanning, structured light 3D scanning and digital photogrammetry. These objects cover a large range of chronology, from prehistoric to late Hellenistic and include terracotta figurines and busts, Greek and Indigenous pottery, prehistoric stone tools, and some stone sculptures.

3D Data processing

The data captured at the Archaeological Museum of Aidone were partly left unprocessed. As part of this digital humanities project, the processing of 65 3d models of pottery was brought to completion using Artec Studio 12 Professional and RealityCapture. Artec Studio 12 Professional is the software in which the structured light 3D scanning data was processed and RealityCapture was used for the data collected using digital photogrammetry. When using Reality Capture to produce a digital photogrammetric model we first align the images that were captured of the artifact – removing any blurry or bad photos. If the photos align correctly, the model can be calculated. Once the mesh has been created and any unwanted triangles have been removed the model can then be textured. If textured correctly the model can be saved and exported. With the structured light data in Artec Studio 12 Professional, the first step is registering the raw scans and generating the geometry. Once the geometry is created it can be edited and any unwanted points can be removed on each scan cluster. The scans are then aligned to form the complete point cloud. Often the scans to not align automatically and must be manually aligned. Once it is aligned the mesh is created. If the mesh does not have any holes or issues it can then be textured. If the texture looks good the model can then be saved and exported. The processing of this data is a lengthy process which requires good quality data and the ability to solve issues with scans, images, and software. The 94 models were processed using these methods..

Metadata curation

In the frame of this projects, the archaeological and historical metadata of these 65 artifacts required substantial original research in order to provide these artifacts with the necessary information to allow them to become useful resources for the public and scholars. Researching for this metadata involved utilizing sources such as the "Catalog of the Archaeological Museum of Morgantina" by Carmela Bonnano and "The protohistoric settlement of the Cittadella" by Robert Leighton. These sources provided valuable information allowing us to conclude accurate dates, descriptions, and material. Once the correct metadata was obtained, it was inserted into the IDEx database, structured according to the Dublin Core schema.

Curation of the digital collection

Ultimately, summarized versions of this data have been posted alongside the 3D models on the online 3D repository Sketchfab. Unfortunately, Sketchfab has limitations. Only a small amount of data can be posted with the corresponding 3D models and there is limited flexibility in how the collections can be organized. In order to publish all of our data in an organized and useful manner, we have created a corresponding, organized landing page on the IDEx website on which visitors can view thumbnails of objects, the full available data, and navigate to the Sketchfab page. This project allows this collection and its important historical and archaeological information to be shared and accessible to the public and scholars and allows these valuable artifacts from the Archaeological Museum of Aidone to be viewed and studied by anyone who wishes to do so. .