Archaeology Applications with Photogrammetry

The uses for photogrammetry in archaeology are varied - from artifact modeling, to the modeling of large excavations from kite photography! We’ve seen some fascinating sample projects completed by PhotoModeler and non-contact, non-invasive scanning technology of PhotoModeler Scanner.

PhotoModeler is used by archaeologists and anthropologists to:

  • Measure and create 3D models of artifacts
  • Perform morphological measurements
  • Document dig sites, terrain or structures in-situ
  • Measure shipwrecks
  • Document older structures for conservation and preservation
  • Extracting the 3D surface of cave paintings, petroglyphs or carvings
  • Modeling objects for curatorial purposes


  • heritage site
  • shipwreck
  • pompeii
  • cave painting
  • petroglyph

These paintings in the Ekain Cave, Basque Country (Spain) are from the Magdalenian Period. They are some of the most beautiful horse cave paintings in the Franco-Cantabrian art. The paintings are 12,500 years old and are located in different
galleries within the cave. The Ekain cave, in July 2008, was added as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Six PhotoModeler Scanner projects were created of two parts of the Zaldei gallery to evaluate the possibilities with PhotoModeler Scanner. The screen shot here is of one of those projects.

The projects consist of one or two photo pairs, each taken with a Nikon D70s with 27mm focal length lens. The projects were exported (including textures) from PhotoModeler Scanner and then imported into Cinema 4D to make final adjustments to the model & textures and for rendering.

This project and video were created by Jan Wesbuer. The resulting models have close to one million triangles, and seven 2048 by 2048 texture images together.

The four frames of a video shown on the right are from the full-length movie. View full movie below.