Harvard Archaeologists Use 3D-Printing to Repair Ancient Artiacts
Two archaeologists at Harvard University’s Semitic Museum have begun using 3D-scanning and 3D printing to repair a ceramic artifact that was partially destroyed 3,000 years ago during an attack by the Assyrian army. They envision that this kind of work will be useful for conservation, research, and teaching purposes. The archaeologists describe their project:
Using a process called photomodeling, the Harvard team photographed sculpture fragments in the museum’s collection from hundreds of angles to create 3-D renderings of each piece, then meshed them together to form a semi-complete 3-D model of the original artifact. They compared the digital model to scans of full statues found in the same location, noting the gaps and creating the missing pieces and support structures out of 3-D printed parts and CNC carved foam. The technique worked successfully: The reconstituted sculpture will be displayed at the museum when this gallery is reinstated in 2014-15, but will likely be online well before that.