This presentation is part of the 2017 3D Digital Documentation Summit.

A Re-composition Methodology of Frescoes Fragments Using a Photogrammetric Approach

The central church of the Christ Antiphonitis in the district of Kyrenia, was originally decorated with frescoes dated to the last decade of the fifteenth century and representing the story of the Tree of Jesse (a pictorial genealogy of the Virgin) and the Last Judgment. Following the occupation of northern Cyprus by Turkish forces in 1974, looters stripped many of the region churches, removing an estimated 15,000 to 20,000 icons and several dozen major frescoes and mosaics, intending to sell them illegally on the antique market. The Church of Antiphonitis was one among them. Starting the end of the 1990s, due to efforts of Cypriot authorities, more than 70 fragments of its frescoes returned from USA and Europe to the Byzantine Museum of Nicosia, where are currently displayed into cases.

The aim of this project is to complete a full documentation, by means of image-based modeling technique, of the frescoes fragments and of the original walls of the looted church. The production of high resolution ortho-photos will contribute to define a clear condition of the fragments returned to Cyprus and to assess the percentage of the still missing ones. At the same time the data produced will help to physically position the fragments according to their original composition on the church’s wall and consequently help to create an installation at the Byzantine Museum, which will resembles the original inner walls of the Antiphonitis church. The repatriated artifacts are currently being under study for restoration and exhibited in a permanent display at the Byzantine Museum. A digital installation will show the interior of the church with its re-positioned frescoes. Visitors will be able to see high-level details of each fragment, the entire composition and take a virtual tour inside the church. Information to be included regard the church itself and its architecture, narratives theme but also their recent story on how they were smuggled out of the country and finally repatriated. In this sense, the 3D model of the church serves as a digital platform for storytelling, where the narrative starts by users choosing which frescoes to visualize

Due to geo-political constraints, photogrammetry has been chosen as a field data acquisition method, due to its speed, reliability and non invasive approach. Two field surveys have been performed. The first one took place at the Byzantine Museum, in order to document all repatriated fragments, while the second one was performed at the Antiphonitis church site in the occupied area. The CIPA 3×3 rules for photogrammetric capture pipeline has been applied in order to ensure the high accuracy of the results.

Speaker Bio
Dante Abate has a background in humanities (Degree in History of Art, 2002; Diploma of Specialization in Protection of Cultural Heritage, 2005; Ph.D. in E-learning, 2009; Degree in Cultural Heritage, 2014), in the last decade Dante Abate’ s research activity has been focused on applying 3D modelling techniques in the field of heritage science. He was a visiting scholar at The Institute for Advanced Technology in the Humanities (USA 2008) and a Research Fellow at the Italian National Agency for New Technologies, (2009-2015). In 2012 he was selected to participate at the 28° Italian Research Expedition in Antarctica. From September 2015 to February 2017 he has been a Research Assistant at the Cyprus Institute. From March 2017 he is a Marie Curie Fellow at Staffordshire University in UK with a project on Digital Forensic Archaeology.

Sorin Hermon studied BA at the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev between 1991 – 1993 with majors in Prehistory and Classical Archaeology. In 2006 he graduated (MA) in Prehistory from the Hebrew University, Jerusalem. Between 1997 – 2002 Sorin studied towards a PhD in Archaeology at the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. In 1998 and 1999 he was awarded a “Training and Mobility” scholarship, within the EC funded project ICARUS, in order to perform research on supercomputing applications in archaeology, at CINECA, Italy. Following his PHD graduation in 2002, Sorin Hermon was offered a post-doctorate at the University of Florence. From 2008 he is Assistant Professor in Digital Cultural Heritage, at the Cyprus Institute.

Ioannis Eliades studied History of Art in the University of Pisa in Italy and got his BSc in November 2000. On 2001 he continued his studies in the Faculty of History and Archeology of the University of Cyprus in Nicosia and on 2004 he got his MA in Medieval History and Archeology. On 2008 got his PhD in Byzantine Art. He is the current Director of the Byzantine Museum of the Archbishop Makarios III Foundation In Nicosia and he is involved particularly with the matters of the repatriation of illegally exported byzantine treasures and the presentation of the destruction of the cultural heritage of the Turkish occupied Cyprus.

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