University of Southampton OCS (beta), CAA 2012

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Capturing and working with 3D data in heritage contexts
Paul J Cripps

Last modified: 2011-12-21


A range of 3D data capture technologies are becoming more widely used in heritage contexts. Wessex Archaeology now regularly make use of such technologies in a variety of contexts such as Environmental Impact Assessment, archaeological evaluation and Cultural Resource Management. These technologies can be applied to a range of purposes including but not limited to, for example, wide area prospection for new archaeological features, analysis of landscape structure and development, recording of heritage monuments and structures and monitoring of impacts at a site or landscape scale. Such technologies are opening up different approaches to fieldwork and post-fieldwork operations and also opens up a variety of possibilities for data manipulation, analysis and interpretation.

This paper will use case studies based on recent Wessex Archaeology projects to examine how the use of laser, satellite and photographic based techniques can be incorporated and combined into traditional and digital workflows, benefits and drawbacks and how capturing and working with such sources of data changes the ways in which we can record, analyse, interpret and make accessible our heritage. Furthermore, the paper will present some of the latest developments in hardware, software and methodologies available to support such work and examine the underlying principals of using such technologies in heritage contexts with particular reference to the importance and necessity of specialist archaeological input.


terrestrial laser scanning; airborne laser scanning; photogrammetry; GNSS; total station theodolite; LiDAR; laser scanning; spatial analysis; GIS