IEEE Virtual Systems & Multimedia Conference in Milan

In September of 2012, I had my first taste of Italy. You know the taste I mean: balsamic purple, tinges of basil greens, and mozarella cream.

I had the distinct privilege of presenting my paper Terrestrial laser scanning (LiDAR) as a Means of Digital Documentation in Rescue Archaeology: Two Examples from the Faynan of Jordan. 

at the 18th International Conference on Virtual Systems and Multimedia in Milan from September 2-5.

Held at the Polytechnic di Milano, it was a well-orchestrated extravaganza of the latest research and development in digital technologies for societal information systems. The conference also organized a series of cultural events for conference participants, and so in addition to making friends with an international crowd of fabulous computer scientists (at what would become our regular table at the receptions)- we had the chance to tour the historical palimpsest of Milan and its museums. It was also my introduction to fog machine holographics and I cannot wait until I get my own hands on such a system.

Abstract of the paper:

Traditional rescue archaeology has focused on the rapid excavation or the cursory documentation of endangered archaeological sites, typically in urban settings. However, when the archaeologist is in remote field situations and encounters an endangered site or a recently exposed robber’s pit, little documentation is typically possible in the short time available to pursue such fortuitous projects. This leads to the loss of a significant amount of potentially useful cultural heritage data. With the advent of new point cloud technologies, more data can now be collected to preserve endangered sites prior to, or even during, their destruction. Over the 2011 field season of the University of California, San Diego’s (UCSD’s) Edom Lowlands Regional Project (ELRAP) in the Wadi Faynan of Jordan, two day long rescue archaeology projects, at Khirbat Faynan and Umm al-Amad, were undertaken utilizing terrestrial Light Detecting and Ranging (LiDAR) as their primary documentation tool. Such rapid documentation was possible with the aid of several modifications to the standard laser scanning equipment, which not only allowed the equipment access to the tight spaces these projects entailed, but required that fewer scans be taken than with traditional laser scanning. The use of free-station scanning also significantly decreased the amount of time needed for data capture in the field. However this increased the amount of post-processing and potential human registration error. The data sets created via “Rescue LiDAR” now preserve a detailed record of these two sites. This data would have been lost to posterity had rapid and adaptable scanning technology not been available.

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