Here you can see some of the 3D models created by the MAT of First World War artefacts and sites. Click and drag to spin the model round, use the scroll wheel to zoom.
All of these models have been created using a technique called photogrammetry. This method allows measurements to be taken from photographs. Using photogrammetry, 3D models can be created from tiny coins to large buildings. The first step is taking a large number of overlapping photographs of your subject. Once this is done, the photos are then uploaded into a specialist software. This software will then recognise points that appear in multiple photographs which overlap to create a cloud of points that form the shape of the object. You can then create a surface between all the points and layer the original photographs over the point cloud to create a 3D model.
3D models are a great tool used in archaeology as it allows us to explore sites and objects in new and exciting ways, and can be used for both research and education. Sometimes, an object is too delicate to be handled much or needs to be kept in special conditions to help its conservation. By capturing it in 3D, we can create a version of the object that can be virtually handled as much as we need to. 3D models are a great way of viewing an object or artefact when the original in inaccessible, due to its conservation needs, its location in a museum on the other side of the world or because it is still laying on the sea bed. Because of the detail that can be achieved with these models, we can capture information on-site and preform the research back at the office. This is particularly pertinent in maritime archaeology when a lot of what we look at is deep beneath the waves and inaccessible to much of the public.