3D Digitization of the Archaeological and Palaeontological Heritage Through Non-contact Low-Cost Scanners. Comparative Analysis

  • N. Santamaría-HoyosEmail author
  • J. Santamaría-Peña
  • J. M. Valle
  • F. Sanz-Adán
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Mechanical Engineering book series (LNME)


This study analyses different 3D scanning technologies, in order to determine the optimal solution to geometrically document and reconstruct replicas of the found objects from archaeological or palaeontological sites. This allows not to touch them, without changing their conservation status, using low cost models. The technologies studied for this purpose have been structured light, with two variants (LED and Infrared), and convergent photogrammetry. The model under analysis has been a dinosaur footprint reconstructed model.

To get the best quality possible with each technology, it is highlighted the importance of controlling previous aspects such as the illumination of the model or the correct setting of the scanning equipment. There should also be considered postprocessing aspects such as the data postprocessing software parameters, the need of correctly align point clouds or the meshes generation .

Based on the three methodologies comparison, it is concluded that it is possible to obtain precisions in a range of millimetre tenths. This validates the methods for the register “in situ” of other elements in the same range of precision, as well as the manufacturing of archaeological and palaeontological replicas using photogrammetric techniques and structured light low-cost scanners. The technology to be used will depend on the complexity of the object to be registered (e.g. with epi-relief) and the precision required in the dimensions and shapes of the model.


Geometric Documentation Archaeological heritage 3D digitization Reverse engineering 3D laser scanner Structured light Photogrammetry 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • N. Santamaría-Hoyos
    • 1
    Email author
  • J. Santamaría-Peña
    • 1
  • J. M. Valle
    • 2
  • F. Sanz-Adán
    • 1
  1. 1.Departamento de Ingeniería MecánicaUniversidad de La RiojaLogroñoSpain
  2. 2.Lab. de Documentación Geométrica Del Patrimonio,UPV/EHUVitoria-GasteizSpain

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