Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

A Virtual Past? Accuracy of 3D Modeling in Archaeological Applications
by Biermann, Rebecca Ella, M.A., The George Washington University, 2014, 78; 1557363
Abstract (Summary)

Stone artifacts represent the most enduring record of human behavioral evolution currently known. Stone artifact form is a key feature to understanding the abilities of human ancestors. Over the past decade, digital reconstructions of artifacts made possible by advanced computer technology have greatly expanded our ability to quantify key features of human behavior. Increased standardization of analysis has also improved global comparisons of artifact morphology through time.

Recently, lithic studies have begun to be based on measurements of 3D models instead of on the original artifacts. Despite the enthusiasm for these new techniques, little research has been conducted on the differences between digital reconstructions and actual artifacts. The objective of this project is to quantify the advantages and disadvantages of photogrammetry and laser scanning 3D modeling technology.

Here, we capture 3D models of experimentally produced stone artifacts using two techniques: multiple image photogrammetry and 3D laser scanning. The accuracy of these two types of digital modeling is tested through comparisons with standard digital caliper measurements. The artifacts were made in two materials: basalt and obsidian, selected because they represent different degrees of surface reflectance.

Pairwise comparisons between the two techniques also demonstrate significant differences for some measures. In particular, modeling technique and material chosen can have an impact on model accuracy: obsidian is slightly more accurately modeled by photogrammetry and basalt is slightly more accurately modeled by laser scanning, however both methods are imperfect. This calls into question some recent studies that have used 3D models. Here, we review the strengths of the different methodologies and provide recommendations for future use of 3D modeling in archaeology.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Braun, David R.
Commitee: Brooks, Alison S.
School: The George Washington University
Department: Anthropology
School Location: United States -- District of Columbia
Source: MAI 53/02M(E), Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: Archaeology
Keywords: 3D methods, Comparative methods, Laser scanning, Lithics, Photogrammetry, Stone tools
Publication Number: 1557363
ISBN: 978-1-303-94682-0
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