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Scanning Ancient Building Components

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The wish to use new technology as it becomes available is normal. The changes that flow as a result are mostly, but not all, for the better; negative consequences run parallel to positive ones, and it is so with the use of laser scanning for surveying. Here we report and comment on a research project at the University of Bath which involves the 3-D scanning of ten Ionic capitals belonging to the archaic Greek period. The scans obtained represent a digital means of recording these objects in their present state, while also providing the basis for creating 3-dimensional virtual reconstructions of them in their original state. The disadvantages and advantages became obvious during the course of the project, as the point-cloud obtained cannot replace all of the traditional virtues of observation, of hand-drawing and of graphic representation (plan, section, elevation). But if the two different techniques are combined together, fascinating results can be achieved.

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