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3D Documentation Helps Restore 3000-Year-Old Relics

image of 3D Documentation Preserves Culture
3D Documentation Preserves Culture

A treasure trove at the high-profile Sanxingdui archaeological site in Sichuan Province, China, has been unveiled to the public with a total of nearly 13,000 numbered relics unearthed, including 3,155 relatively intact relics in the newly discovered six sacrificial pits. Scantech’s high-precision 3D laser scanners has been used for the recording, 3D documentation and restoring ancient artifacts unearthed.

From an article in The Auto Channel by Scantech.

Sanxingdui, an ancient site located in Guanghan in Sichuan Province, has been recognized as one of the most important ancient sites in the world for its vast size and long period, and enriched cultural contents.

From the end of 2020 until now, archaeologists have been seeking to uncover the mystery of this ancient civilization by adopting a brand-new archaeological research mode. By leveraging expertise across different disciplines and fields, they have confirmed that the site is dated to 3000 years ago, showing that the ancient Shu civilization is an integral part of Chinese civilization.

Workflow of Reconstruction

Before conducting any restoration for the scared tree No.3, the archaeological researchers decided to assemble these pieces to see what it looked like virtually. The decision was to to ensure that there is no damage caused to the object before actual restoration and to accelerate the repair process.

The first step was to collect data. Traditionally, experts use conventional measurement methods and photography to record data, which takes a long time. The data captured are usually not complete and limited for use.

This time, for the Sacred Tree No.3, archaeologists used 3D scanning to capture the tree’s data. They used our handheld laser 3D scanner to capture the data of 69 branches of the tree one by one. Thanks to its ultra-high scanning rate, Scantech’s metrology 3D laser scanner assisted researchers in accurately obtaining complete 3D data of relic fragments in a short amount of time.

A model is then generated in 3D software to reconstruct 1:1-sized branches. The 3D model was virtually assembled by referring to similar relics of Sanxingdui from the same period.

Virtual assembly can help to replicate the divine tree No.3 to its original form digitally without damaging it before the actual repair. It simulates the repair process by virtually assembling these pieces, providing accurate data for shedding insights on subsequent reconstruction. The data captured were also stored and can be archived for further use.

After assembling all the broken pieces of the tree No. 3, archaeologists brought this delicate bronze tree back to life. The archaeology and restoration of cultural relics at the Sanxingdui Site are still in full swing. We believe new technologies will play a vital role in reviving more cultural treasures.

For the complete article on 3D documentation CLICK HERE.

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