University of Southampton OCS (beta), CAA 2012

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The medieval settlement of Montieri, from archaeological excavation to 3D reconstruction
Daniele Ferdani, Giovanna Bianchi

Last modified: 2011-12-22


Based on the results of the surveys and historical sources, a complete three-dimensional reconstruction of the architectures of the Village, focusing attention on the most important buildings.  The 3D reconstruction helped scientists to make hypotheses regarding the original architecture and layout, and helped tourist to visualize and understand better the ancient site

Given the great number of important monuments and archaeological sites that exist in Italy, many of them tend to be undervalued or even ignored because of the nearby presences of better known sites or monuments. Besides the remains are usually in such a bad state of conservations that only expert or scholars can understand their context.

This is the case of Montieri, a small medieval mining settlement situated in south Tuscany, between the two well known towns of Siena and Volterra. Even if the settlement is not well known, there exists interesting examples of architecture, typical of XII and XIII century. Not only are there dwellings i.e. “tower-houses” but also: the Mint of the Bishop of Volterra, where coins were minted; a unique example in Italy of a  “esa-petals” church (only ten examples of which exist in the world); the Bishop’s residence, a palatial building adorned with rare architectural elements; entrances to the silver mints and the surroundings area where the silver was purified and smelted before being taken to the Mint.

This being the case, the University of Siena in collaboration with the Local Authorities of Montieri, in the last few years have been involved in studying in the archaeology and architectural of the village in order to reconstruct the original layout and its development. A number of archaeological excavations and architectural surveys have been carried out on the sites using photogrammetric techniques.

To improve people’s knowledge and understanding, the 3D reconstruction images have been used in scientific journals and magazines and in video form in a documentary, shown on the national TV network, regarding the history of the village. The case study is on-going and will be updated over the next few years as new findings come to light.

In the actual paper the methodology, tools and the aims of the projects will be discussed in detail. In particular attention will be focused on the various stages of work progress, and on the reliability and transparency of the data used in the 3D reconstruction



3D reconstruction; valorization; medieval settlements