The Roman pier of San Cataldo: from archaeological data to 3D reconstruction

Ivan Ferrari, Aurora Quarta

Abstract

The pier of San Cataldo (Lecce, Italy) is located along the Adriatic coast about 10 km east-northeast of the ancient city of Lupiae, (today's Lecce), and is the best-preserved port structure of the Roman Age in Apulia. It was researched between 2004 and 2007 by the Laboratory of Topography and Photogrammetry (LabTAF) of the University of Salento, who produced a detailed analysis of the remain and a survey of the portion still visible on the mainland. At the same time, aerial surveys and the study of historic aerial photos from the 1940s and 50s supported a topographic study of the site. Since 2013, within the activities of the LabTAF, the structure has been the subject of an excavation campaign where a further portion of the pier was discovered in the mainland, and the underwater remains were documented. This contribution aims to emphasise the importance of collecting complete metric and historical-archaeological data for a proper three-dimensional (3D) reconstruction of the structure. On this occasion a photogrammetric survey was conducted and a 3D image-based model created that has become the starting point of the reconstruction hypothesis of the pier and its topographical context. The final model represents a reasonable synthesis of the interpretation of the collected data, and serves as a starting point for tackling the future integration or modification of the structure.

Highlights:

  • A key requirement for a better understanding of the Roman pier of San Cataldo (Lecce, Italy) was the creation of a 3D model from an image-based survey.

  • The 3D reconstruction process of the monument was based on a production pipeline anchored to metric data and historical-archaeological information.

  • The final 3D reconstruction proposal shows the original shape of the Roman pier, the ancient surrounding landscape and its related activities.


Keywords

virtual archaeology; archaeological survey; 3D image-based modelling; cultural heritage; documentation

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