The Project

About the project

The understanding of an archaeological site by the visitor is mostly determined by the way in which generations of archaeologists have interpreted the monuments of the specific area in the past. This interpretive approach is certainly not arbitrary, as it is based on the archaeological data. The element that mainly changes is the degree of certainty and surety during the proposal of representation. Monuments do not usually maintain all the elements that they initially consisted of. Through the ages, certain parts have been lost, with the first being those constructed from perishable and valuable materials, while the need for the adjustment of a building to the changing conditions depending on the historical period has also caused modifications, alterations and addendums. As such, the goal of any restoration, from the initial design stages to the actual physical restoration process, is, on the one hand, to respect the historical evolution of the monument and, on the other, to propose more accurate representation to the best of its ability. The monuments of Delphi are extraordinarily interesting, not only because of their significance and worldwide fame, but also because of the different approaches followed since the times of the so-called Great Excavation (1892-1902). By using Pausanias’ writings and the inscribed tablets, the majority was identified early on with certainty, while the condition of preservation of the architectural parts, which had been used in newer constructions, assisted with the general understanding of the monuments and the formulation of suggestions related to their complete form and design. However, more specialized issues have never stopped being the subject of discussions and disagreements with in the scientific community. One such characteristic issue is the restoration proposals for the Dome of the Sanctuary of Athena Pronaia. Since 1912, when the first relevant study was published, until today, many other propositions have been submitted, especially concerning the height of the pillars (it was initially accepted that the pillars constituted of four drums in height, one less than what was finally placed on the restored pillars) and the construction of the roof (conical or on two levels, with an elevated central part, or finally pyramidal and with a central flowery edge). Other similar cases are the Monument of the Rhodians, pertaining to the direction and the form of the chariot on its peak, as well as the Temple of Apollo itself pertaining to the form of the sculptural decorations on the pediments. The objective of the proposed project is the development of new innovative methods of documentation, analysis and promotion of cultural heritage monuments combining, for the first time, modern techniques of 3D surveying and the mathematical modeling of archaeological uncertainty, by incorporating it in the three-dimensional reconstruction of archaeological monuments. In archaeological representation, it is commonplace to create diverse scenarios of the original state of the monument and to and revise such plans based on the most recent information. In the area of Delphi, there are important monuments which inherently communicate elements of uncertainty regarding the reconstruction of their past form. For these monuments, diverse non-invasive capture techniques and 3D imaging techniques will be applied through terrestrial and aerial (via drone or UAV) imagery, laser scanners or optical scanners of varied principles of operation, ranging and precision, the results of which will be integrated, in order to make the best possible use of them for the scientific documentation of cultural heritage. Then, for the first time, based upon 3D captured data, the development of mathematical models of archaeological uncertainty will be conducted in relation to how an archeological structure was formed in the past. This will provide multiple variants of three-dimensional reconstructions based on historical data and excavation findings, which will offer a whole new set of uses for archaeological 3D models that will broaden the horizons of archaeological research, such as investigating archaeological hypotheses, comparing uncertainties between different models, and identifying areas where further archaeological research may be required. The results and new three-dimensional documentation and reconstruction methods that will emerge from this project will be presented in a pilot interactive demonstration setup, that will be designed and installed at the Museum of Delphi. Furthermore, the new 3D documentation methods will provide the basis for the development of Augmented Reality (AR) applications, implemented with modern software development tools. Visitors will have the opportunity to browse the archaeological site while receiving, on a mobile phone or on a specialized AR display, 3D information in relation to the archaeological monuments as they may have existed in the past, including elements of archaeological uncertainty, combined with real-world exhibits, so that they can acquire the sense of “cultural experience” and broaden their knowledge

«The Action is co-financed by EPANEK (European Regional Development Fund of the European Union and by national resources) and is implemented through the General Secretariat for Research and Innovation (GSRI)»