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


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)

Fieldschool Day 4

30 07 2009
Measuring the sternpost

Measuring the sternpost

The day started off with a small amount of pessimism about the weather.  The wind never really died, but we were fortunate enough to not have any rain.  Our first dive was cut short due to multiple simultaneous calls of nature, but the remaining dives seemed to be having a competition for the longest dive.  The winner of this “competition” came in with a dive of 2 hours 18 minutes!  This was despite having equipment problems in the middle of the dive.  Aiding the divers in their competition was the fact that the main purpose of their dives was to draw more of the ship, a task which allowed the divers to focus completely on their work while remaining very relaxed.

Not all of the focus is on diving, however.  With the ship fragment FPL 77, affectionately known among the students here as the 4 AM Wreck, everyone had work to do even when they were on the surface.  People seemed to be in especially good spirits when informed that we would be able to take the ship apart in order to fully document it.  Drawing has begun and is coming along quite nicely.

Andrew Stanek

Fieldschool Day 1

27 07 2009
Martin cleaning the wreck

Martin cleaning the wreck


For a period of three weeks the Maritime Archaeology Programme, usually based in the University of Southern Denmark, Esbjerg, is relocating to sunny northern Germany.  The class of 2008 along with professors, Jens Auer and Thijs Maarleveld arrived at Prerow on Sunday the 27th of July. The class is made up of Cate Wagstaffe, Andrew Stanek, Marja Lisa Grue, Christian Thomsen, Martin Lonergan, Bente Grundvad, Kostas Alexiou, Sarah Fawsitt, Delia Ni Chiobhain, and Liv Loftus. On Sunday we erected our tents and had an evening swim out to the wreck site. The wreck was located 200 metres from shore as was expected.

Day one

Monday morning our main aim was to launch our two boats. Our newest boat, the Mapper launched without any problems. Our inflatable however had a puncture so we were unable to launch it. The Mapper and two divers headed for the wreck site where a buoy was secured near the wreck.

Meanwhile back at the camp the first divers prepared their equipment and headed down to the beach. When they arrived, Mapper came into shore to pick them up. There were four dives altogether. The first divers entered the water at 12’51. They put down a measuring tape to use for offset measurement in the center of the wreck. Christian Thomsen begun the sketch, while Cate Wagstaffe was ‘cleaning’ the wreck. Cate took over the sketching half way through dive and Christian continued with the cleaning. They finished their dive an hour later. The next divers were Andrew Stanek and Sarah Fawsitt, they focused on the sketching and took some more measurements. They also did certain amount of cleaning. Their dive was from 15’17 to 15’51. Kostas Alexiou and Bente Grundvad begun their dive at 16’52. Kostas cleaning and Bente made some more measurements and sketching. They reached surface at 17’57. Martin Lonergan and Marja Grue began their dive at 18’36. Their aim was to check out the extent of the wreck, but their dive had to be aborted after 15 minutes, due to a time constraints. After the last divers and most of the equipment were brought to shore the powerboat was taken back to the initial area (surfing school) and the last of the equipment was taken out, before it was anchored. The people responsible for the mooring and driving the boat were picked up from there.

After dinner we had a debriefing and were told that due to a wreck washing up on a nearby beach we would be having an early start in the morning.

Assembling a (Princes Channel) wreck…

1 05 2009

Halfway through our modeling course we made a first attempt to join the five different hull sections of the Princes Channel Wreck. On the one hand we wanted to establish the “missing link” between the bow and the hull of our ship and on the other hand we hoped to get a first idea about the size of the ship.

Assembling the Princes Channel wreck

Assembling the Princes Channel wreck

We mounted the bow section on a large wooden frame and then assembled the remainder of the hull using temporary fixings such as wire and chocks. Thin plastic splines were used to control curvature and assure fair lines. Although this was our first attempt, which involved a lot of improvisation, we got a first idea about the size of the Princes Channel Wreck or Gresham Ship. it looks as if we are dealing with a merchant vessel of at least 25m length at the level of the lowest (and possibly only) continuous deck.

All sections joined

All sections joined

As a next step we’re going to build a larger reconstruction frame and attempt a more permanent reconstruction which will also allow taking off a first set of lines. At the same time the working groups have started to work on larger 1:10 scale wooden models in order to reconstruct the construction sequence of the Princes Channel Wreck.

Jens Auer
Assistant Professor
Maritime Archaeology Programme

Gresham Ship article in Post Medieval Archaeology

23 09 2008

An article on the Gresham Ship/ Princes Channel Wreck, which summarises the current state of the project has just been posted in Post Medieval Archaeology:

The `Gresham Ship’: an interim report on a 16th-century wreck from Princes Channel, Thames Estuary

Authors: Auer, Jens; Firth, Antony

Source: Post-Medieval Archaeology, Volume 41, Number 2, December 2007 , pp. 222-241(20)

Publisher: Maney Publishing

A .pdf version of the article can be downloaded here.

Jens Auer

Assistant Professor

Maritime Archaeology Programme

Diving on Gotland

1 09 2008

The class of 2007/2008 has just returned from a fieldschool on the Swedish island Gotland. Invited by the HUMA Project, students of the maritime Archaeology Programme participated in a diver survey just north of Visby.

The HUMA project focuses on the underwater cultural heritage of Gotland. In 2008 fieldwork concentrated on known locations connected with the loss of the Danish-Lübeck fleet on the west coast of Gotland in 1566.

MAP divers recording a timber at Brusviken

MAP divers recording a timber at Brusviken

Based at the wonderful Krusmyntagård, SDU students and staff spent three weeks surveying an area of seabed at Brusviken. The aim of the survey was to produce a map of artifact distribution on the site. In addition we recorded parts of the stern section of a vessel which had been located by local divers.

More fieldwork pictures can be found on our Flickr page. Further information on the project and the fieldwork session is available on the HUMA project webpage. A report on the fieldwork results is currently being produced and will be posted here when available.

Jens Auer

Assistant Professor

Maritime Archaeology Programme