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Huge 3D scanning project reconstruct a house from the ancient Roman town of Pompeii

Historians have been fascinated with the ancient Roman town of Pompeii for centuries. Founded in the sixth or seventh century BC, the town had an advanced water system, amphitheater, and a population of around 11,000 residents before it was destroyed by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in AD 79.

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Under layers and layers of volcanic ash, the town remained incredibly well preserved until its 18th century rediscovery and uncovering.

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Historians have been demonstrated very enlightening for by the remnants of Pompeii, but researchers are finding new methods for more information about the town that was ruined. 3D scanning technology, for instance, has empowered a group of Lund University researchers to create a virtual model of a big house, revealing just how the building would have appeared prior to its destruction.

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Under the direction of Anne-Marie Leander Touati, once of Rome’s Swedish Institute and now Professor of Classical Archaeology and Ancient History at Lund University, the Swedish Pompeii Project has been carrying out various jobs since the year 2000.

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The group plans to record the historical town as completely as possible in case of additional destruction due to earthquakes and such like. Since 2010, the Department of Archaeology and Ancient History in Lund has managed the research.

Using 3D scanning technology from Florida-based scanning specialist Faro, the Lund researchers have been able to collect considerable amounts of visual data about Pompeii, data which can be used to create virtual restorations of buildings like the House of Caecilius Iucundus, revealed in the video below.

The city district was 3D scanned during field work between 2011 2012, and the first 3D models of the ruin city have now been finished. By combining new technology with more conventional approaches, we can describe Pompeii in greater detail and more precisely than was formerly possible,” remarked a digital archaeologist at Lund University, Nicoló Dell´Unto.

To recreate the House of Caecilius Iucundus, laser 3D scanning technology to assemble 3D pictures of the building was used by the Lund researchers. A drone was afterwards used to collect aerial images of the website.

The resultant polygon arrangement was improved with manually inputted colours after the visual data was meshed using unique applications. Digital photos were subsequently added to the 3D model to improve the look of floors and the walls, creating an identifiable and credible 3D visualization.

During their time in Pompeii, the researchers have uncovered flooring surfaces from AD 79, performed in-depth studies of the building development through history, and cleaned and recorded several gardens, a pub, a laundry, a bakery and three big rich estates.

Their work has uncovered numerous miniature details about life prior to the eruption in Pompeii. For instance, in one garden, the researchers found that some faucets on a fountain were on at the time of eruption, significance when the volcanic ash fell over Pompeii water was flowing.

Every now and again the researchers would find layers that are entirely untouched. For instance, in a store, they located three fully undamaged windows made from see-through crystalline gypsum piled against each other. These windows are believed to have come from Rome.

By analyzing water and sewer systems, the research workers also have been able to interpret the social hierarchies of the historical town, learning that eateries and retailers were dependent on big well-off families for water.