Around the World in 80 Models: Labraunda

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Hop on board as we continue our journey Around the World in 80 Models! We began our itinerary at Sketchfab headquarters in New York and are working our way through Europe, Africa, Asia, Oceania, South America, and North America. To catch up on past destinations, check out the rest of the Around the World in 80 Models series.

This week we’re in western Turkey, where archaeologist Daniel Löwenborg shows us around the Sanctuary of Zeus at Labraunda.

Labraunda, Turkey: Sanctuary of Zeus

My name is Daniel Löwenborg and I have a PhD in archaeology and work as a researcher at Uppsala University and associate professor at the University of Bergen. I am also co-owner of a company called Disir Productions where we are working with 3D documentations of archaeological excavation and digital reconstructions of historical environments. My research is focused on the use of GIS and quantitative methods for archaeological landscape analysis, and thus the recent easy availability of drones and photogrammetric methods has led to many exciting new possibilities. When I first got my hands on a DJI Phantom and started doing models from the pictures, it really blew my mind how easy it was to produce high quality data! So far I have mostly worked on projects in Gamla Uppsala in Sweden, Luxor in Egypt and Labraunda in Turkey. This past summer I joined two additional research projects: a fascinating Bronze Age site called Malthi in Greece and the UNESCO world heritage site of Great Zimbabwe.

The model “Labraunda – Sanctuary of Zeus” was created as part of a research excavation project of the site that was initiated in 1948 by professor Axel W. Persson from Uppsala University. Since 2013 the project director is Dr. Olivier Henry (PSL*, Ecole Normale Supérieure-AOROC, Paris). It is a wonderful place up in the mountains north of the city Milas, and since it is a bit secluded there are not so many visitors there, but it is well worth a visit and the history of the place is amazing.

The model was created in several parts, with the lower sanctuary mostly scanned with a DJI Inspire 1. For the Acropolis on the top a DJI Phantom 2 was used, since there were so many trees there and it was necessary to fly below treetops, it was better to use the light and flexible Phantom with a wide-angle GoPro camera. Since we only had two batteries with us for the Inspire, and electricity at the site is scarce, the data for the sanctuary was collected over six days, with the chunks processed individually in Agisoft Photoscan and then merged together based on ground control points. Since the model is fully georeferenced it will act as a base on to which we can add the results of future excavations over the years to create a fully 3D GIS documentation of the excavation. This is a great resource for collecting the information about the excavations, and we also use it as a base for reconstructions of the buildings at the site, most of which are not very visible today. A first version of such reconstruction work with building created in SketchUp and visualised in ArcGIS can be seen here.

To see more of Daniel’s models here on Sketchfab, check out his profile!

About the author

Abby & Néstor

Abby and Néstor are Sketchfab Masters.
Abby Crawford, Ph.D. is trained in and passionate about Roman Archaeology and works as a freelance artifact illustrator and 3D scanner in California.
Néstor F. Marqués is a virtual Heritage & cultural diffusion researcher, and an enthusiast of ancient Rome’s culture.


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