Burial architecture. 3D dissemination study for a selection of Byzantine graves

Camilla Mileto, Fernando Vegas López-Manzanares, Valentina Cristini, Pedro M. Cabezos Bernal

Abstract

The former polis of Tall-as-Sin (in the current province of Deir ez-Zor, Syria) grew considerably during Justinian's reign in the 6th century AD. Its cemetery, outside the walls, presents an extraordinary Byzantine necropolis, where 163 hypogea graves were documented, thanks to recent archaeological campaigns financed by the Ministry of Culture (PAMES-Sirio Euphrates Middle Archaeological Project). This paper presents the research for obtaining three-dimensional (3D) models of graves, selected in the cemetery, by combining information (obtained from planimetric and photographic surveys of the site) with taxonomic features (types of arcosolia, vaults, accesses, stairways...). The 3D modelling process is carried out using data collected during the survey of the graves. These data are then used to restore the surfaces which cover the burial chambers dug out in the ground. The modelling technique was based on generating surfaces, incorporating the different sections and profiles obtained during the data collection phase. The surfaces generated enclose the volume of the dug-out space so that the definitive grave models were obtained using a simple Boolean operation, removing these volumes from a prism-shaped piece representing a portion of the land, thus emptying the interior. The result has provided a reliable and rigorous graphic basis for the design and printing of 3D mockups, contributing to the dissemination of the exhibition called "A retrospective on five years of archaeological activities in Syria".

Highlights:

  • Contributing to Byzantine architecture classification in the Middle East, including specific case-studies, interesting both from archaeological and architectural research fields.

  • Experimenting and investigating tools for the study, representation and conservation of archaeological finds, combining 3D digital and 3D printing mockups.

  • Incorporating resources for promoting and disseminating archaeological and architectural heritage, raising awareness among local Syrian population and authorities, allowing them to rediscover their own heritage, often neglected.


Keywords

Byzantine necropolis; previous studies; 3D reconstruction; mockups

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