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Development of an integrated information system for archaeological heritage documentation

By Ulrike Karin Rivett

Abstract

Bibliography: leaves 161-174.The traditional methods for the documentation of archaeological heritage sites are challenged today by developments in geomatics, information technology and the computer industry. Non-contact spatial measurement methods, as well as new spatial information systems technologies and computer visualisation tools have introduced a new age for conservation and site research. This thesis uses the instance of the documentation of the 3.6 million-year-old hominid footprint trackway in Laetoli, Tanzania, to address the need for an adequate scientific method to acquire, manage and visualise spatial data for the re-creation of archaeological heritage sites in a three-dimensional virtual world. The Laetoli site presents the first physical evidence of human bipedalism. Its consequent significance to human evolutionary science justifies the need for highly detailed and accurate documentation of its characteristics. The thesis explores digital photogrammetric techniques as data acquisition tools for this kind of close range archaeological environment. Specifically, it examines issues such as non-contact measurements, cost-effectiveness, and functionality in harsh conditions.The data collected at Laetoli had to be organised, managed and presented to allow future research on the footprints and to allow the general public to "visit" the site. This thesis shows how a spatial information system is used to manage spatial and meta data, while an integrated visualisation tool offers a virtual 3D reconstruction ofthe heritage site

Topics: Architecture, Planning and Geomatics
Publisher: Division of Geomatics
Year: 2000
OAI identifier: oai:open.uct.ac.za:11427/4982
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