Photogrammetric state of degradation assessment of decorative claddings: the plasterwork of the Maidens' Courtyard (The Royal Alcazar of Seville)




historical plasterwork, heritage conservation, management, alterations, digital photogrammetry


Previous studies and documentation about the state of conservation of architectural or decorative elements are crucial for heritage managers, technicians and researchers to succeed in the maintenance and preservation of the heritage. In this sense, hand tracings, digital drawings, or photographs have traditionally been the methods for alteration and sample mapping. In spite of their effectiveness, these methods have some disadvantages, such as the need for more precision in terms of location, dimensions, quantification and types of alterations. By contrast, high-resolution three-dimensional (3D) models allow us to analyse decorative ancient plasterworks with great precision, offering considerable advantages over traditional tools for heritage documentation. To facilitate stakeholders’ work and enhance the quality of data collected, this work proposes the use of photogrammetry as a tool for the documentation of polychromed ancient plasterworks, taking the upper frieze of the access door to the Charles V ceiling room in the Royal Alcazar of Seville as a case of study. Thus, the work methodology applied has shown several advantages over previous methods. On the one hand, it was possible to obtain a 2D planimetry from the 3D model; this is an essential step for those responsible for heritage, especially in reports prior to restoration interventions. On the other hand, the 3D model created enables present alterations identification, the location of fissures and cracks in their three dimensions (opening, length and depth), deformations measurement and control, the quantification of mass or polychrome loss, and the detached elements digital reconstruction. In this way, highprecision digital results are quickly obtained and accessible to all the experts involved in the heritage conservation and maintenance plan.


  • The photogrammetric survey demonstrates to be a potential tool in the preventive conservation of ancient plasterworks.
  • The high-precision 3D model allows the study and quantification of alterations (e.g. fissures, deformations, and loss of mass or polychromies).
  • The virtual model and the analysis performed with CloudCompare software provide fast, accurate and accessible results to experts in the field.


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Author Biographies

Marta Torres-González, Universidad de Sevilla

Marta Torres González is a PhD in Architecture from the University of Seville linked to the Department of Architectural Constructions II of the University of Seville and belongs to the research group TEP-198, Construction Materials. She is part of the work team of the research projects: "Development and Evaluation of Models of Durability and Preventive Conservation of Decorative Elements from the Historic Plasterwork of the Royal Alcázar of Seville”. She is specialized in material characterization and construction inspection through non-destructive testing and virtual models.

Elena Cabrera Revuelta, Universidad de Cádiz

Elena Cabrera Revuelta is a Technical Architect and PhD from the University of Seville. She is a substitute teaching tutor in the Area of Graphic Expression in Engineering at the University of Cádiz and belongs to the research group "Graphic and Cartographic Engineering" at the University of Seville. She has formed part of the work team of the I&D project "Development and Evaluation of Durability Models and Preventive Conservation of Decorative Elements from the Historic Plasterwork of the Royal Alcázar of Seville", carrying out photogrammetric data collection work.

Ana I. Calero-Castillo, Universidad de Granada

Ana Isabel Calero Castillo. She has a degree in Fine Arts, a degree in Conservation and Restoration of Cultural Heritage, a master's degree in "Research and art production" and a PhD in art. She is currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Painting at the Faculty of Fine Arts and belongs to the Science and Culture of Heritage research group. She is part of the work team of the research projects: "Studies of materials and execution technique, tests of conservation-restoration treatments and 3D applications of decorative elements of cultural heritage" and the project "Development and Evaluation of Models of Durability and Preventive Conservation of Decorative Elements from the Historic Plasterwork of the Royal Alcázar of Seville”. Her research career focuses on the analysis of the constituent materials and execution technique of historical decorative coatings, on the identification of their conservation problems and, the study of the appropriate materials and methodologies for their conservation and preservation.


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How to Cite

Torres-González, M., Cabrera Revuelta, E., & Calero-Castillo, A. I. (2023). Photogrammetric state of degradation assessment of decorative claddings: the plasterwork of the Maidens’ Courtyard (The Royal Alcazar of Seville). Virtual Archaeology Review, 14(28), 110–123.