ONE-MA3 – Day XVII: La Venaria Reale Conservation and Restoration Center

July 8th, 2019ONE-MA3 2019

Sophia Mittman '22 It has been quite a difference to go from the narrow and bustling streets of Rome to the long, wide, and French-looking facades of Turin with the Alps peeping above the city in the distance. But, it has been an exciting change! With a completely new environment came a new set of archeological topics to begin learning about. After an attempt to catch a bus in vain, we ended up taking taxis to La Venaria Reale at the edge of Turin overlooking the Alps, which is both a palace once owned by the Savoia family and now also serves as home to one of the three art restoration schools in Italy. Interestingly enough, the entire palace was restored only ten years ago, yet on the inner sides of the Baroque facade walls are fantastic examples of modern architecture that seem to float inside of the large barrel-vaulted rooms and house the school’s actual art restoration labs, which we were lucky enough to tour later in the day! The Galleria Grande in La Venaria Reale  Immediately after arrival to the palace, we first learned all about gypsum, a rock that is baked (to dehydrate it), turned into powder, mixed with water again, and then sculpted to form stucco on walls and ceilings. Even though the word “gypsum” seemed so foreign to most of us, we were surprised to find out that it is basically what we know as plaster of Paris. We learned all about gypsum and plaster [...]

Sophia Mittman ’22

It has been quite a difference to go from the narrow and bustling streets of Rome to the long, wide, and French-looking facades of Turin with the Alps peeping above the city in the distance. But, it has been an exciting change! With a completely new environment came a new set of archeological topics to begin learning about. After an attempt to catch a bus in vain, we ended up taking taxis to La Venaria Reale at the edge of Turin overlooking the Alps, which is both a palace once owned by the Savoia family and now also serves as home to one of the three art restoration schools in Italy. Interestingly enough, the entire palace was restored only ten years ago, yet on the inner sides of the Baroque facade walls are fantastic examples of modern architecture that seem to float inside of the large barrel-vaulted rooms and house the school’s actual art restoration labs, which we were lucky enough to tour later in the day!


The Galleria Grande in La Venaria Reale 

Immediately after arrival to the palace, we first learned all about gypsum, a rock that is baked (to dehydrate it), turned into powder, mixed with water again, and then sculpted to form stucco on walls and ceilings. Even though the word “gypsum” seemed so foreign to most of us, we were surprised to find out that it is basically what we know as plaster of Paris. We learned all about gypsum and plaster and then got to tour the palace rooms and corridors that were completely covered in gorgeous displays of stucco. As semi-material-science students, we also got to witness the integral instability of gypsum in some of the ceiling sculptures that had clearly degraded and did not show much promise of surviving in a pristine position. Gypsum is another material that art restorers are challenged by when it comes to preservation to save this artwork from the Baroque period.

Examining pictures of cross-sections of paintings taken from a scanner 

In addition to touring the palace gardens, my favorite part of the palace visit was going inside of the art restoration labs. We were given a run-down about how research of the stratigraphy (the layers) of a painting is completed. We now know that it involves taking a sample from a painting, surrounding it with resin, taking photos with visible light and X-ray, and using all of this data to determine what the original sketch was, and what the original methods of painting were. Pictures taken using a microscope are not only used for the purpose of restoring paintings, but also to examine textiles on the microscale. When the images were polarized, an entire color scale was revealed in the seemingly-simple material, which was absolutely fascinating! Afterward, we saw the machines that can make X-ray scans of an object from nearly every angle in order to discover the structure inside of an artifact without actually breaking into it. This is a commonly used technique that allows for the protection of cultural heritage, while also being able to learn as much from it as possible. Overall, today we had the amazing opportunity to see first-hand everything that we had been learning about in lectures!

Polarized picture of a textile under a microscope

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ONE-MA3 – Searching for Egyptian Blue and Creating Our Own

July 8th, 2019ONE-MA3 2019

By Naomi Lutz '22 We first learned about Egyptian Blue the first week in Sermoneta when we used the pigment to make our frescoes. We knew little about it other than that it was the first synthetic pigment, created and used by Egyptians. Later in Terracina, we learned about VIL, which can be used to detect very small particles of Egyptian Blue. We used VIL on a mosaic in Terracina but did not find any Egyptian Blue. The TAs told us that we would probably be able to actually find some in the Egyptian Museum in Turin. In the museum in Turin, each group was assigned an artifact to analyze and use VIL on. Although the pigment had faded to a black color, we were immediately able to clearly detect it. To block out other sources of infrared light, we held up cardboard boxes around the object. Shining a bright LED light onto the object, we took pictures using the modified camera, and the areas of the artifact where Egyptian Blue was used, showed up bright blue on the photos. My group analyzed a sarcophagus, and our goal was to simultaneously take pictures to make both a VIL 3D model and a regular photogrammetry model. The VIL pictures were still super cool and showed that a lot of Egyptian Blue had been used on the sarcophagus and on the other artifacts! Egyptian blue glowing on the Sarcophagus using VIL Our TA Max walked around the museum and took pictures of [...]

By Naomi Lutz ’22

We first learned about Egyptian Blue the first week in Sermoneta when we used the pigment to make our frescoes. We knew little about it other than that it was the first synthetic pigment, created and used by Egyptians. Later in Terracina, we learned about VIL, which can be used to detect very small particles of Egyptian Blue. We used VIL on a mosaic in Terracina but did not find any Egyptian Blue. The TAs told us that we would probably be able to actually find some in the Egyptian Museum in Turin.

In the museum in Turin, each group was assigned an artifact to analyze and use VIL on. Although the pigment had faded to a black color, we were immediately able to clearly detect it. To block out other sources of infrared light, we held up cardboard boxes around the object. Shining a bright LED light onto the object, we took pictures using the modified camera, and the areas of the artifact where Egyptian Blue was used, showed up bright blue on the photos. My group analyzed a sarcophagus, and our goal was to simultaneously take pictures to make both a VIL 3D model and a regular photogrammetry model. The VIL pictures were still super cool and showed that a lot of Egyptian Blue had been used on the sarcophagus and on the other artifacts!

Egyptian blue glowing on the Sarcophagus using VIL

Our TA Max walked around the museum and took pictures of many different artifacts and found Egyptian Blue basically everywhere! He made a presentation of the different images, and we were all so impressed. We had never seen so much Egyptian Blue in our lives. It was really exciting to see so much of it after having heard so much about it earlier in the trip. It was even more exciting to actually get to make the pigment a few days later in Aramengo.

Meriah Gannon ’22 preparing our mixture in the Nicola Restori Laboratory [Photo by: Carene Umubyeyi ’22]

            Our TA’s Max and Linda presented a lecture about the production of Egyptian Blue, since Max did his ONE-MA^3 project on Egyptian Blue and continued his research in the Masic Lab. His group found that precise measurements and fine particles were important in successfully creating the pigment. We used his advice when making our own Egyptian Blue this afternoon in Aramengo at the Nicola Restori Laboratory. Chemist, Marco Nicola, instructed each group to make 5 grams of the pigment. The three main ingredients are copper, calcium, and silica. The groups were given different variations of copper and calcium solutions to use in their recipes. The first step was using stoichiometry to figure out how many grams of each solution/powder containing copper, calcium, and silica to put into the mixture. After thinking through and writing out all of the conversions, we were ready to measure and weigh our ingredients. My group tried to get within the thousandth place for each of the three ingredients with the goal of being as precise as possible. We then grinded the powders together, making the mixture very fine. We added water to half of our powder and rolled it up into a ball, leaving the other half in its container.

Ben Bartschi ’22 measuring out an ingredient for Egyptian blue [Photo by: Carene Umubyeyi ’22]

            Marco heated up or cooked our Egyptian Blue, and we all went back the next day to test our creations. They all looked somewhat blue, which was encouraging. Using VIL, we saw that all the samples luminesced. Some did more than others, and Marco declared the one that luminesced the most to be the winner. After our introduction to and study of Egyptian Blue in Italy, some of our class will continue to research Egyptian Blue in the fall at MIT.

Solutions in the Laboratory [Photo by: Carene Umubyeyi ’22]

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ONE-MA3 – Day XV: All Roads Lead to Rome…

July 8th, 2019ONE-MA3 2019

By Sophia Mittman '22 In the past few days we have learned about some of the major networks that Romans constructed such as roads (like the Via Appia) and aqueducts (like the Anio Novus), and indeed back in the Roman Empire, most of these did lead to Rome! Today we had a full free day to spend in Rome exploring the ancient city to our hearts’ desire. I will say, visiting all of the tourist hotspots would have been exciting on its own, but after two weeks with ONE-MA3, we can now see past the facades of degraded structures and restored art as if we were archeological detectives, which in my opinion made the entire experience of exploring the older parts of Rome even more captivating and invigorating. The Colosseum! Our first stop was at one of the most famous attractions of all—and according to Wikipedia, the most visited in the world—the Colosseum. At a first glance, it looks exactly the same as it does in every history textbook, postcard, or travel brochure that you’ve seen. But, upon a closer examination of the ancient structure, we started pointing out interesting features to each other that we wouldn’t have noticed before. For example, one of us realized that each level of the outermost wall of the stadium (consisting of four levels) was decorated with a different style of column, starting with the most basic at the lowest level (simple Doric columns), and increasing in complexity and fanciness as the levels increased [...]

By Sophia Mittman ’22

In the past few days we have learned about some of the major networks that Romans constructed such as roads (like the Via Appia) and aqueducts (like the Anio Novus), and indeed back in the Roman Empire, most of these did lead to Rome! Today we had a full free day to spend in Rome exploring the ancient city to our hearts’ desire. I will say, visiting all of the tourist hotspots would have been exciting on its own, but after two weeks with ONE-MA3, we can now see past the facades of degraded structures and restored art as if we were archeological detectives, which in my opinion made the entire experience of exploring the older parts of Rome even more captivating and invigorating.

The Colosseum!

Our first stop was at one of the most famous attractions of all—and according to Wikipedia, the most visited in the world—the Colosseum. At a first glance, it looks exactly the same as it does in every history textbook, postcard, or travel brochure that you’ve seen. But, upon a closer examination of the ancient structure, we started pointing out interesting features to each other that we wouldn’t have noticed before. For example, one of us realized that each level of the outermost wall of the stadium (consisting of four levels) was decorated with a different style of column, starting with the most basic at the lowest level (simple Doric columns), and increasing in complexity and fanciness as the levels increased (to Ionic columns, then Corinthian columns, and finally Corinthian pilasters). These pieces of classical architecture came from the knowledge that we picked up in Terracina and Pompeii. Inside the Colosseum where 50,000 people could sit, we also spontaneously began identifying the chronological order of the layers of construction/restoration when it came to looking at the surfaces of the brick walls and buttresses that lined the inside of the amphitheater, just like when we identified layers of construction at the Anio Novus aqueduct earlier in the week. Before this program, I would have walked right past the old brick walls and would have thought nothing of them. Now, I am ecstatic that other students and I can stand in front of an ancient brick wall and have an entire conversation deciphering the historical clues that it gives about its past.

Inside the Pantheon!

Of course the Colosseum was amazing, but I was even more surprised when we walked through the neighboring ancient ruins of the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill, where we were able to see the entirety of what would have been “downtown Rome” about two thousand years ago. We could see the Colosseum in the distance, but we could also see the ruins of lots of small buildings, temples, incredible Corinthian columns that stand precariously on pedestals, and giant arches throughout the forum. Trajan’s Column was just a little further past the column: it is a giant column (pictures make it look small…in real life it’s huge!) that is decorated with a continuous spiraling narrative of scenes from battles during the time of Trajan. We then meandered a little father until we came upon the jewel of Rome and a building that is very close to many of our MIT hearts: the Pantheon. We already know about the Pantheon’s physical influence on the Big Dome that stands prominent over Killian Court, but we also had learned more about the incredible physical structure of the Pantheon in the lecture given by MIT professor John Ochsendorf when we visited the American Academy in Rome. The outside of the building was breathtaking, but the inside was even more mind-blowing and beautiful. We fawned over the marble floors and walls, wondered about mysterious rectangular spaces in the wall high up on the walls, and gaped at the sheer span and architecture of the dome. Some of us hope to take this incredible building (not literally) and use it as the focus of our cultural heritage projects in the fall.

Inside St. Peter’s Basilica!

 After the Pantheon, we split up into our different ways to go on more adventures. As for me, I went with my friend Carene Umubyeyi to St. Peter’s Basilica, where we had seen the facade before but had not actually had the chance to walk inside. Both of us being Catholic, it was by far the highlight of our day. As with the Sistine Chapel, my own words cannot describe the utter glory that’s inside of that basilica. As Carene put it when we first walked inside, “this [St. Peter’s basilica] is what Heaven must look like.” We wandered around with our mouths open for a while, and when I turned a corner to see Michelangelo’s Pieta resting on an altar, my breath was completely taken away. We admired the sculpture for maybe fifteen minutes before continuing on to explore the rest of the massive church. Again, like the Sistine Chapel, the amount of frescoes that lined the walls, ceilings, and domes reminded us of the huge and tiresome effort that we put into creating small 8”x8” frescoes on our own earlier in the program. We also went to Sunday Mass at the main altar, where the main stained-glass window glowed brilliantly in Renaissance glory from the sunset behind the church, and where the organ’s songs showed just how masterful the architecture of the basilica is with its incredible acoustics. As for the choir, imagine an Italian opera singer. Now imagine twenty of them singing together. That was what it was like. Overall, for me, there could not have been a better way to complete our day of immersion into Italian culture, religion, history, and art.

The Trevi Fountain (another small hotspot we visited after St. Peter’s)

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ONE-MA3 – Collecting data in Terracina and Exploring the Ruins of Pompeii

July 5th, 2019ONE-MA3 2019

By Naomi Lutz '22 On Thursday morning, we packed up and left the castle after having spent eleven nights there. We were sad to leave the comfort of the castle but excited to visit and stay in new towns and cities. We drove to Terracina and were given a tour of the archaeological sites in the town. After stopping for a gelato break, we finished the tour and sat down for lunch. Much to our surprise, it was a five course meal with more food than any of us could finish. The food was delicious, and it was nice to take a long afternoon break. Next, we visited the town’s museum, admiring many incredible statues and frescoes. Hot and exhausted from the sun, we finally checked into our hotel and crossed the street to go to the beach. We swam and played water volleyball for a few hours, thankful for the cool water. For dinner, everyone thoroughly enjoyed delicious pizza! It is safe to say, it was a great end to an amazing first day in Terracina. Lunch in Terracina On Friday, we split into groups and completed four stations of fieldwork. The stations involved testing for Egyptian blue in mosaics, analyzing columns, measuring stones of a Roman road, and using XRF on statues, with photogrammetry mixed in throughout the day. To test for Egyptian blue, we turned off the lights, covered the desired area of the mosaic with a cardboard box, and shown a flashlight through the crack of [...]

By Naomi Lutz ’22

On Thursday morning, we packed up and left the castle after having spent eleven nights there. We were sad to leave the comfort of the castle but excited to visit and stay in new towns and cities. We drove to Terracina and were given a tour of the archaeological sites in the town. After stopping for a gelato break, we finished the tour and sat down for lunch. Much to our surprise, it was a five course meal with more food than any of us could finish. The food was delicious, and it was nice to take a long afternoon break. Next, we visited the town’s museum, admiring many incredible statues and frescoes. Hot and exhausted from the sun, we finally checked into our hotel and crossed the street to go to the beach. We swam and played water volleyball for a few hours, thankful for the cool water. For dinner, everyone thoroughly enjoyed delicious pizza! It is safe to say, it was a great end to an amazing first day in Terracina.

Lunch in Terracina

On Friday, we split into groups and completed four stations of fieldwork. The stations involved testing for Egyptian blue in mosaics, analyzing columns, measuring stones of a Roman road, and using XRF on statues, with photogrammetry mixed in throughout the day. To test for Egyptian blue, we turned off the lights, covered the desired area of the mosaic with a cardboard box, and shown a flashlight through the crack of the box. Egyptian Blue gives off infrared light/radiation when hit with the flashlight, so our special infrared camera can prove that Egyptian Blue is present. For the column station, our TA Janille taught us about the stability of free-standing columns and the process used to determine if columns are likely to collapse from earthquakes in the future. Aqueduct expert Duncan Keenan-Jones, helped us record observations about sections of the Roman road and measure and take pictures of the road. We recorded XRF concentration notes from Admir and reconstructed many statues from the museum. Following this long, hot day of fieldwork, it was time for gelato, the beach, and seafood.

The Ruins of Pompeii

The next morning, we boarded the bus to go to Pompeii. In Pompeii, Duncan gave us a tour of some houses, a few temples, the amphitheater, and a villa. We were all amazed at the mosaics and frescoes seen in some of the houses—they were so detailed and colorful. Floors were covered with mosaic designs with the smallest tiles I had ever seen. After having struggled for 3 hours to make a very small mosaic with much bigger tiles last weekend, the mosaics impressed me the most out of anything in the rooms. Janille pointed out many columns and the restoration methods used on them. When looking at anything in Pompeii, we tried to figure out which parts were original and which were restored. The restored parts were often marked with bricks and are made to look different from the original, but we still struggled in identifying the restored parts in some buildings and parts of the city. Duncan showed us pipes, wells, and an aqueduct which supplied water to the city, explaining the water systems used. We were especially excited to see another aqueduct. After a long day of walking and learning about the history of the city, the building materials used, and the restoration efforts, we stopped for pizza and got on the bus to Rome. It was a busy, exciting few days, and we can’t wait for Rome!

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ONE-MA3 – Roaming Around Rome

July 5th, 2019ONE-MA3 2019

By Naomi Lutz '22 We checked into our hotel in Rome late Saturday night and our first stop was, of course, gelato. The gelato place put melted chocolate at the bottom of the cone, making it my new favorite gelateria. The next morning most of us woke up early and headed to the Colosseum, stopping at some churches on the way. It was cool to read the signs inside the Colosseum and learn more about how it was built and what it was used for. We were impressed by the ruins and the garden in the Roman Forum. There were so many columns to look at too! We had fun trying to figure out which part was restored and guess how stable the columns might be. Our next stop was lunch—we stopped at the restaurant Maccheroni, thankful to sit in an air-conditioned room again. After eating delicious pastas and salads, we met up with the TAs for gelato from Grom, which Janille claimed to be the best gelato in Rome. The Colosseum in Rome             Some of us then visited the Pantheon and admired the walls, statues, and frescoes. After taking it all in, we walked past some fountains and walked up the Spanish steps. The Trevi Fountain seemed the grandest and most interesting to me. We looked up facts about it and saw that an estimated 3,000 euros are thrown in each day—that turns out to be around 1.5 million dollars a year! We didn’t contribute to this sum [...]

By Naomi Lutz ’22

We checked into our hotel in Rome late Saturday night and our first stop was, of course, gelato. The gelato place put melted chocolate at the bottom of the cone, making it my new favorite gelateria. The next morning most of us woke up early and headed to the Colosseum, stopping at some churches on the way. It was cool to read the signs inside the Colosseum and learn more about how it was built and what it was used for. We were impressed by the ruins and the garden in the Roman Forum. There were so many columns to look at too! We had fun trying to figure out which part was restored and guess how stable the columns might be. Our next stop was lunch—we stopped at the restaurant Maccheroni, thankful to sit in an air-conditioned room again. After eating delicious pastas and salads, we met up with the TAs for gelato from Grom, which Janille claimed to be the best gelato in Rome.

The Colosseum in Rome

            Some of us then visited the Pantheon and admired the walls, statues, and frescoes. After taking it all in, we walked past some fountains and walked up the Spanish steps. The Trevi Fountain seemed the grandest and most interesting to me. We looked up facts about it and saw that an estimated 3,000 euros are thrown in each day—that turns out to be around 1.5 million dollars a year! We didn’t contribute to this sum of money, but witnessed other people doing so. Finally, we began to walk back to the hotel, which felt super far away after having walked in the heat for so long. After showering and relaxing for an hour or two, we walked back to Trevi Fountain to meet up with the others. We got a table for 16 at a nice restaurant near the fountain and enjoyed gnocchi, fish, eggplant, and hamburgers. Afterwards, we took some pictures at the fountain, which was even more beautiful at night, and returned to the hotel after walking around and exploring even more. In total, according to the iPhone’s health app, we walked 14.7 miles and 38,809 steps that day!

At the Trevi fountain with Lucy McMillan ’22 and Jess Arbuckle ’22 and myself (from left to right)

            The following morning, some people left early to visit Saint Peter’s Basilica. They said it was beautiful and was a great day. A few other girls and I decided to walk to Mercato Testaccio, a market with clothes, shoes, purses, fresh produce, bread, meat, pasta, and more. We passed some of the amazing sites we had visited the previous day on the way to the market. After walking around the market for a bit, we got bagels, fruits, and vegetables. By the time we walked back, passing the Colosseum again, we had walked over 6 miles. Another big day of walking around and exploring Rome!

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ONE-MA3 – The World’s Best Creations… Pocket-sized

July 5th, 2019ONE-MA3 2019

By Ben Bartschi ‘22 The Castle of Ninfa, which we digitally reconstructed using phone cameras, drone pictures, and a technique known as photogrammetry “To infinity, and beyond!” Buzz Lightyear’s catchphrase is recognized all around the world and originates of course from one of my favorite movies of all time, Toy Story. After a sudden urge to see the new addition to the franchise, Toy Story 4, I managed to track down the single English showing of the movie here in Turin, Italy, and I got to see it last night with some fellow ONE-MA^3ers. Apart from the amazing story and writing, I was absolutely blown away by the animation and visual effects. I’ve always been a huge enthusiast of digital artistry and the world of 3D modeling, and seeing the movie really got me thinking about how much progress the industry has made since the series’ first installment. The digital medium has become a key player in modern worldwide culture and affects almost everyone’s lives. Professor Admir Masic examines an early copy of De architectura, by Vitruvius, at the American Academy in Rome. Vitruvius was definitely a cultural influencer back in his day To my excitement, a large portion of our research and fieldwork here in Italy has been focused on using new technologies and digital communications in order to preserve, restore, and share information about cultural heritage. With developments of virtual and augmented reality, the ability to be immersed in ancient worlds is completely possible. Many museums that we’ve visited, such [...]

By Ben Bartschi ‘22

The Castle of Ninfa, which we digitally reconstructed using phone cameras, drone pictures, and a technique known as photogrammetry

“To infinity, and beyond!” Buzz Lightyear’s catchphrase is recognized all around the world and originates of course from one of my favorite movies of all time, Toy Story. After a sudden urge to see the new addition to the franchise, Toy Story 4, I managed to track down the single English showing of the movie here in Turin, Italy, and I got to see it last night with some fellow ONE-MA^3ers. Apart from the amazing story and writing, I was absolutely blown away by the animation and visual effects. I’ve always been a huge enthusiast of digital artistry and the world of 3D modeling, and seeing the movie really got me thinking about how much progress the industry has made since the series’ first installment. The digital medium has become a key player in modern worldwide culture and affects almost everyone’s lives.

Professor Admir Masic examines an early copy of De architectura, by Vitruvius, at the American Academy in Rome. Vitruvius was definitely a cultural influencer back in his day

To my excitement, a large portion of our research and fieldwork here in Italy has been focused on using new technologies and digital communications in order to preserve, restore, and share information about cultural heritage. With developments of virtual and augmented reality, the ability to be immersed in ancient worlds is completely possible. Many museums that we’ve visited, such as the Vatican Museum and the Egyptian Museum here in Turin, are looking for new methods to share the precious information and artifacts that they safeguard. These past few days, we’ve been carefully working with officials at the Egyptian Museum in order to digitally reconstruct historical relics, primarily through a technique known as photogrammetry. As someone who had never heard the term photogrammetry before this trip but has found it to be an amazing tool, I wanted to take this chance to give a quick debriefing on what it is and how it helps us.

One of the first objects I got to reconstruct with photogrammetry was this fresco painting kept in Sermoneta Castle

First of all, it’s important to understand that manual 3D modeling is very difficult and time consuming, and it would require many professional artists in order to accurately recreate statues or pieces that you find in any given museum. From a more technical approach, lasers can be used to scan objects and recreate them in 3D space, but they are quite expensive and cumbersome. Photogrammetry, however, gives virtually anyone with a phone or a camera the ability to intuitively reconstruct complex models by taking pictures of an object from different angles and feeding it through software that does the hard math for us. The software plots many points in the space where it thinks our object should be, then if we give it the go-ahead, it can basically play connect the dots and give us a nice textured model with a complete surface. It’s definitely not perfect, but there isn’t much that matches it both in terms of power and ease of use.

The workflow of a column I reconstructed from ancient Roman ruins in Terracina. The four images on the right are screenshots of Agisoft Metashape, a photogrammetry program

Once we have a model, we can use that to do extra scientific analyses, and then we can combine it with other digital platforms in order to share the history and findings with more people. A specific example of this is to create an augmented reality app that allows you to point your camera at a designated target image and then see a digital 3D object as if it were in real life. This could be anything! From the Great Pyramids to the Colosseum, the world’s best creations can fit in your pocket.

A screenshot of the app in action on my phone. The column spins, too!

I could go on forever about the intricacies of the modelling and data processing, but I’ve learned that even more important than those is the impact that these technologies have on preserving history and culture of the world. As much as we try to conserve ancient sites and objects, most have been steadily degrading since their excavations and discoveries. Now is the best time to carefully document and reconstruct all that we have, so that one day if a magnificent place such as Pompeii can no longer receive physical visitors, people will still be able to digitally walk the streets and continue to learn and improve upon all that the past has to offer us. As Buzz suggests, the potential here is infinite.

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