Recording in 3D

30 04 2010

Using a 3D laser scanner on the Faro arm

As a result of SDU’s commitment to provide cutting edge training and education to its students, the Maritime Archaeology Programme held a weeklong intensive hands on training session with the FARO Arm in conjunction with the 2010 FARO Arm and Rhino Archaeological Users Group (FRAUG) meeting.  This cutting edge technology was first developed for the automotive industry but is now also being utilized by the archaeological community out of a need for a common methodology for 3D data recording.

For this week, a number of experts from projects throughout Europe came together to show us how to record archaeological artifacts in 3D.  Using 4 different FARO Arms along with a 3D laser scanner, we were able to create digital renderings of timbers from the early modern “Wittenbergen” wreck that sank in the Elbe.  The instructors then showed us how to properly organize the data, using Rhino 3D, a computer aided design (CAD) program.  This data could then be used to produce 2D line drawings or a physical 3D model of the artifacts.  The week ended with a meeting of FARO Arm users updating the group on their respective projects and troubleshooting the various issues related to 3D modeling.

We would like to express their thanks to Toby Jones and  Erica McCarthy (Newport Ship Project), Frank Dallmeijer (Rijksdienst voor het Cultureel Erfgoed) for their patience and expertise, helping the SDU students remain at the forefront of archaeological innovation. Many thanks also to the German Maritime Museum in Bremerhaven for participating in the organization of the course and to Dr Ralf Wiechmann at the Museum for the History of Hamburg for providing the timbers for recording!

Andrew Stanek & Nicholas Ranchin-Dundas

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Guns in 3D

6 01 2010

Frederik Hyttel, one of the students here at the Maritime Archaeology Programme in Esbjerg won our “HMS St George gun modelling competition”…- well, or just delivered an incredibly detailed model…
You can download his model of an iron 12 pounder lifted from the wreck of HMS St George below. Frederik’s model is based on the total station survey of a gun and carriage on display in the Strandingsmuseum Thorsminde. To view the Rhino 3D file, you need a copy of Rhinoceros3D. A fully functional evaluation version can be downloaded here. The Sketchup file can be viewed and modified with the free 3D modelling software Google Sketchup.


Iron 12 Pounder HMS St George (Rhino3D file – 17MB)

Iron 12 Pounder HMS St George (Sketchup file – 26MB)





The St George Rudder and Cannons Day

6 01 2010

Recording the guns of HMS St George

The day we were all going to know as St.George Rudder and the Cannons Day started very early, in fact way too early for most of the Maritime Archaeology students, but as dedicated students we sacrificed our sleep in (which never goes past 9:30 of course). After traveling north through the Danish tundra we arrived at the edge of the Nissum Fjord. To be exact the small settlement of Thorsminde where the Strandingsmuseum was situated. Here we started the day by (under protest) being split up into two groups. We were to take turns in taking points with the Total-Station as well as measuring the remaining canons and carriages of the St.George by hand and in precise measurement drawn archaeological drawing of the famous St.George Rudder.

After the (which has known to be a standard procedure) arguments and discussions of the first group, about whether the 3 cm diameter hole in the 7m rudder was on an original part of the rudder or a reinforcement, the archaeological drawing could start! Unfortunately at this point one and a half hours had passed and it was time for a change of stations.

The recording of the cannons had to be continued. Using the total station we started with 4 orientation points on the ground, and then recording points at every important angle and curve which would later be used to create a 3D model by using a program, loved by the students, called Rhino. With little coffee breaks and a short excursion to the pier the work made steady progress, plus we got to a free tour of the  museum by the very welcoming director (who also provided the coffee).

By the time it was starting to get dark, the last points of the carriage were being taken and recorded, and the last details of the St.George rudder were being drawn (this turned out to be an amazing drawing thanks to our special portuguese friend). Once finished we could make our long way back home to Esbjerg…

Watch this spot for the results!

Isger Vico Sommer





Row your (Viking) boat…

25 09 2009

Rowing into the storm, the Viking way (apart from those orange lifejackets)

Rowing into the storm, the Viking way (apart from those orange lifejackets)

Viking time!

Monday September 21st we went to Bork Viking harbour to get the feel of Viking life in action.
The boat we were taking out was a replica of Skuldelev 6, called “Ravnunge Bork”. The boat is meant for a crew of 7-16 men, our crew consisted of 2 experienced Vikings, one professor and 9 students, a good number for working this boat.
Number one rule when rowing, do not stare at your own oar, instead look at the person in the back on starboard side setting the pace. It was, of course, of great importance that we all were rowing at the same pace. Not doing so might have caused problems such as hitting the person in front, in the back or on the side of you, or their oars. With a bit of practice we all got into it. I do not know if we reached the expected speed of the boat, that is 4 knots, but we got it going.
From the harbour in Bork we rowed out along a  stream on to Ringkøbing fjord, on the way out to the fjord we past a sacrificial site with dead animals on display, the Vikings had been there…..
Out on the “open” fjord we all tried out our skills as coxswain, commanding the rowers to steer the ship around a buoy, who should row forward and backwards to make the turns more sufficient.
After a few tries we got the hang of that too and learned that it is even more efficient to use the rudder for steering rather than just the oars.

Setting sails we have not done yet (well, only on dry land), the winds have been too strong, but next week we will also get to sail the Viking way.

Liv Lofthus





Fins Beer and Barbecue…

24 09 2009

Or a first hand account of the semseter start at SDU MAP:





High Viz and drilling platforms…

24 09 2009
Andrew looking professional in safety gear...

Andrew looking professional in safety gear...

During the summer (this post is a little late…) we got the chance to visit the drilling rig ENSCO 70, which was being refitted for a Mærsk contract in Esbjerg harbour. Esbjerg is developing into the Danish Offshore capital, and drilling rigs and platforms have become a common sight in the harbour.

Maritime archaeology is closely linked to the maritime industry sector, in methodology, and often in day to day tasks. It was therefore great  to get aboard a drilling platform and learn more about the daily life and routines on rigs and the production process.

Many thanks again to John Howell at Mærsk for making this visit possible!!

Jens Auer

Assistant Professor

Maritime Archaeology Programme





Fieldschool Day 17

13 08 2009
The Maritime Archaeology team surveying.

The Maritime Archaeology team surveying.

Today the total station arrived. We were all rather excited at camp by the idea of using the total station to get the exact location of FPL 17. Excited by the fact that the only total station knowledge we had was of using one in Thorsminde Denmark, for recording the Rudder of the ship HMS St. George. (See under Projects)

A total station can plot points and give GPS co ordinates by shooting light into a prism. The prism for FPL 17, since underwater, was attached to a very large poll so that it would sit above 3.5 meters in the water and still have the prism exposed for the total station to shoot from land.

The first (and only) divers of the day, Bente and Kostas set out on the boat and began the dive. 5 hours later, the two divers disassembled all the baselines and attained 4 datum points along the wreck. In order to do this, Kostas had to paddle his little Greek heart out at the surface to make sure the points were level with the total station that was on land (assisted by Christian), while Bente held the heavy poll steady at the stem post, the stern post and amidships between frames 350 and 207.

Of course this sounds all nice and easy writing it now on this blog, but I can assure you it took great effort to align the prism with the total station – 45 minutes to be exact. Rain and long distance from the total station on shore where not in the divers favour, but practice made perfect as they did it twice to be sure.

The last few frames of the‘4am wreck’ were measured and completed in the early hours of the day, as we sat out in the rain drawing and measuring with soggy clothing and smiles on our faces. Ironically, after all was completed for FPL 17 and FPL 77, the sun decided to greet us with its presence. So we began the interesting task of taking samples from FPL 77 for tree ring analysis. In order to do this, Christian, Sarah, Andrew, Marja, Della and I hesitantly began cutting pieces of the frames we had spent so long getting to know. Andrew teared up as he sawed away at the very frame he drew early that day. 10 samples later, and smelling a bit funny from waterlogged wood, we finished the day with Piñacoladas at the Prerow beach party.

Cate Wagstaffe