3D reconstruction of grave figures
Painting of the 3D models according to the customer's specifications in a historical context

Reconstruction of Roman funerary figures

Digital geometry and colour reconstruction of three Roman tomb figures: A step into the future of archaeology

Ingelheim am Rhein: Three ancient tomb statues from Roman times, known as “the oldest known Ingelheim statues”, have their place of honour in the museum near the Imperial Palace. Two of these statues are almost completely preserved, while only the shoulder and chest sections and the head of the third are still in place.
In an ambitious project, the museum has set itself the task of digitally reconstructing these historical treasures and preparing them for use in a modern app application. This represents a remarkable step in digital archaeology and was realised by the ArcTron3D GmbH multimedia team in a very short space of time.

Our first task was to digitally reconstruct and complete the existing scan data. For this purpose, numerous templates from well-known statues of the time were used for 3D modelling. The 3D data from a high-precision 3D scan (1mm accuracy) was provided as the basis for the 3D reconstruction of all the figures.

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The first figure, a lady, is missing details on her head and hands – the garment also had to be completed. The second figure, a man in a toga, is also almost completely preserved. Here too, the hair, face, left hand and other details were added. The third figure only exists from the chest upwards. Parts of the first lady and additions based on models, a photomontage and known statue types from the period were used for the comprehensive 3D reconstruction.

In close cooperation with the customer, those 3D reconstructions of the geometries were realised in a short space of time. Basic features such as facial, hair and body shapes were added, but without a detailed replica. In particular, the depiction of the hair had to be simplified. The project team clarified in advance which maps and PBR (physically based renderings) should be used and defined a maximum polygon count for each figure to ensure smooth integration into the app.

The second step was to colour the 3D reconstructions. The customer’s specifications were based on scientific research into the colour pigments still present. HTML colour codes, RAL tones and digital image files of the colours were used for the implementation. The desired surface gloss was also realised.
Intermediate results and corrections were pushed forward and optimisation steps were implemented quickly to complete the project within a tight timeframe.

This project is a prime example of how modern technology can be used to preserve cultural heritage and make it accessible to a wider public. It marks a new milestone in the world of archaeology and digital art. We would like to thank Dr Kappesser, Museum bei der Kaiserpfalz, for the excellent and uncomplicated cooperation!

Further details can be found on the website of the Museum Ingelheim.