Saturday 28 December 2019

VirtualArch: a mobile App to valorize the medieval mines of Mt. Calisio

Hello everyone,
this post regards an European Project we worked on this year: VirtualArch. The aim of this project was the tourist enhancement of some European sites characterized by an hidden (not directly visible) Cultural Heritage.
Our task was to find a way to show the medieval mines of Mt. Calisio, near the city of Trento. Most of these silver mines are not yet open to visitors and are hidden under some interesting cultural paths, created by the Ecomuseo Argentario (the ancient name of Mt. Calisio). In order to allow tourists to understand this interesting hidden heritage, we developed a mobile app, which guides the visitors through three paths, showing information about the ancient mines and their cultural landscape.
The first problem to solve was the interoperability of the app, which had to run on different mobiles (with Android, IOS, Windows, etc...). Our solution has been the development of an open source App (here the code), based on internet language, in order to be visualized without problem on most of the mobile, regardless on the Operating System. We also had to produce most of the multimedia content and, as requested by our customer (The Archaeological Office of the Autonomous Province of Trento), we rendered several 4D video regarding the life in the silver mines during Medieval age. We prepares this material with our 3D expert Cicero Moraes, thanks also to the technical advices of Dr. Nicoletta Pisu (Archaeological Office) and Dr. Lara Casagrande (Ecomuseo Argentario).
The App can be downloaded with a mobile device at this link. Due to the fact that, currently, on Mt. Calisio there is no internet, the App should be completely downloaded on the device before to reach the site. For some tasks, the App will ask to use specific devices on mobile systems, like the GPS (to track the position on the paths) or the camera (to be used for Augmented Reality). Being based on an internet language (PHP, JS, etc...), the same link will also show the App on normal computers, but without optimization for texts, images and videos.
If you want to have a preview of this App, you can simply watch the three videos here below, showing the three cultural paths and their Points Of Interest (POI).


This cultural paths is called "Sentiero delle Grave" and crosses three POI (Points Of Interest) of a cultural landscape due to the unloading of silver mining waste, which made the surrounding woods more like a savannah.

POI 1: text and images about the animals living in this habitat

POI 2: text, images and video (a flight with a drone) about the anthropic landscape of the "Grave"

POI 3: text and images about the flora of the "Le Lore" peat bog


This paths is called "Sentiero degli gnomi" and crosses five POI (Points Of Interest) of natural and cultural landscape related with the figure of gnomes and dwarfs, historically (locally) deriving from the "canopi", the ancient miners.

POI 1: text, images about the "Canopi" (medieval silver miners) and the derived figures of the folklore (gnomes and dwarfs), with a 360° panoramic view (the damages of the storm "Vaia" on the wood).

POI 2: text and images about the local lime kiln

POI 3: text and images about the "Montegpiano's peat bog" flora.

POI 4: text and images about the dress of the "Canopi" and about the local mine called "Canopa del Raita", with a video showing the exploration of its caves.

POI 5: text and images about the local mine of the "Dos del Cuz", with a slider showing the superimposition of an aerial orthophoto over the LIDAR 3D model and the map of the caves. A 3D video shows the old work outside the mines.


This paths is called "Sentiero delle Canope" and crosses eight POI (Points Of Interest) of a cultural landscape related with the ancient silver mines (called "Canope") of Mt. Calisio.

POI 1: text and images about the S. Colomba's lake and the surrounding area, characterized by many mine shafts, visible in the slider showing the superimposition of an aerial orthophoto over the LIDAR 3D model of the area.

POI 2: text and images about the ancient tools used by the miners ("Canopi"), visible within a gallery, with an interactive 3D model (in 3DHOP), showing the work under the surface.

POI 3: text and images about the local "Canopa delle Acque", with a video showing a virtual tour inside the mine.

POI 4: text and images with some technical information about the geology of the area, with a 3D video showing a section of the mountain with the "Canopa delle Acque"

POI 5: text and images about the local "Canopa dell'Uccello", with a gallery about the minerals of the area.

POI 6: text and images about the local "Canopa dei Bamponi"

POI 7: text and images about the panorama visible from the belvedere, with some information about the archaeological site of the "Redebus" (gallery) and about the historical Erdemolo's mines (Miniere di Erdemolo / Gruab va Hardimbl)

POI 8: text and images with technical information about the ancient excavation methods, with an Augmented Reality application to show 3D models of ancient tools.

I hope this post was useful.

If you want to try the App (also without visiting the sites) and you are not an Italian speaker, there is an English translation done by Claudio Parisi (just download the App and choose the English option).

Have a nice day!

Friday 20 December 2019

Archaeology, Alexa and NLP

Hello everyone,
this post regards some test we are doing in these weeks about the application of NLP (Natural Language Processing) to archaeology. This research is conducted by our friend Andres Reyes (Arc-Team), an expert in this field.
Among the many possibilities of NLP in CH (Cultural Heritage), we decided to start with something particular and probably not so easy, but very useful for everyday work: a project manager for archaeology. The video below shows a preview of the system (how the system finds an old project).


To understand what I mean, I have to explain very fast why this tool would be a great help in our field. In Professional Archaeology (or, if you prefer Commercial Archaeology) projects can be divided in 4 main categories: excavations (probably the 70% of the work), surveys (and explorations in general), Cultural Heritage Enhancement (Valorization) and studies (mainly researches on specific archaeological and historical topics). From a logistical point of view, the most critical projects are the ones related with excavation and surveys, especially if performed in extreme conditions (Glacial Archaeology, High Mountain Archaeology, Underwater Archaeology, Speleoarchaeology, etc...), since in most cases the office (and all its comforts) is far away. Even if assisted by the strong computerization of the last 15 - 20 years, field operations can end up with errors, especially if many people work simultaneously to the same project from different area (for instance, a common mistake is giving the same code to different layers or artefacts).
A way to try to avoid errors is to use DBMSs (DataBase Management Systems) and GIS directly on the field, but this solution has some weakness, mainly related with the devices on which these software runs and with the necessity to find a comfortable location to insert the data (even if temporary). Thanks to the wider and wider coverage of internet and the new generation's smart-phones it is now simpler and faster to insert data into a main server trough a DBMS with a well designed interface (for GIS it is still better to work with a rugged laptop). Nevertheless these operations are still time consuming and keeps the archaeologist busy for a while, with all the difficulties coming from the use of a small touch-screen (gloves, dirty hands, rain, etc...). For this reason a Project Manager based on vocal commands could improve the work on the field, avoiding the main errors deriving by some of the most common stress factors (short time-table, weather conditions, several people working simultaneously, etc...).
Despite our decision to work with FLOSS, for this first experiment with NLP we decided to start with Amazon Alexa virtual assistant, for several reasons: the great effort of Amazon in developing the system, its strong diffusion among users and the good support in Italian (the language of our firts prototype). Nevertheless, as soon as we will have a first prototype, we plan to test and develop also open source solution, like Microft. BTW all our code will be released ASAP, with open source licenses, in this public repository on GitLab.
Currently our prototype is in a very early stage, but we already modified it a couple of time, with sensible changes in our strategy. For instance, in order to keep everything simple, at the beginning we based on shared google doc spreadsheets. This solution was more than enough to manage the list of codes related with US (Unità Stratigrafice, EN Stratigraphical Units), artefacts, samplings, documentations (in 3D and 2D), with also the possibility to keep controlled the budget and the working hours. soon we changed this strategy to have a more performing DBMS, based on the FLOSS PostgreSQL. Currently we are developing more options, like the possibility to ask to the Project Manager in which project we worked during a specific month.
I hope this post will be useful. If you want to collaborate to the project, please contact us. Have a nice day!

Wednesday 18 December 2019

Archeorobotics. Open Robotic Applications in extreme archaeological conditions

Hi all,
as I promised yesterday, I uploaded an English version of our contribution to ArcheoFOSS 2018. The title is "Archeorobotics. Open Robotic Applications in extreme archaeological conditions" and this paper is more detailed, since it explains the development of our archeorobotic equipment and the reason of several modifications, underlining at the same time the main benefits of using this kind of devices during extreme archaeology missions. Here is a direct link to this contribution on ResearchGate.

The ArcheoROV (A) and the ArcheoBoat (B) prototype and some results of their use in professional archaeological missions.

I hope this paper will be somehow useful in improving the discussion about the Archeorobotics and the use of Open Hardware in Archaeology.
Have a nice day!

Tuesday 17 December 2019

ArcheoFOSS 2018: conference proceedings now online!

Hi all,
this short post is to notify you that are finally online the conference proceedings of ArcheoFOSS 2018. As you probably know this conference is the Italian annual meeting of archaeologists who use and develop FLOSS (Free/Libre and Open Source Software). The proceedings of edition 2018 are published on the journal "Archeologia e Calcolatori" (EN: "Archaeology and Computers") and can be accessed here.
Our contribution, related with our experiences in archeorobotics, can be downloaded here (on ResearchGate).

Some photos of Arc-Team's archeorobotic devices in action

I will try to upload ASAP, here on ATOR, a more detailed version of this paper in English.
Have a nice day!

Friday 15 November 2019

Speleoarchaeological exploration of the "Bus de la Spia"

Hi all,
this short post is a fast report of our speleoarchaeological exploration of the natural cave known as "Bus de la Spia" (EN "Spy's whole") near Sporminore (TN - Italy). The mission was organized, thanks to the mayor of the town Mr. Giovanni Formolo, within a larger project regarding the Cultural Landscaper of Non Valley, promoted by the local APT (Tourist Office).
The mission was filmed by two different crew, composed by the technicians of Big River Film Co. (U.S.A.) and Damiano Clauser LandShot (Italy).
This exploration achieved positive results, certifying the presence some historical "graffiti" dating back to World War I and collecting a fragment of a wooden board. Despite its excellent conservation, this sample is probably connected with the first explorations of the cave at the beginning of XVIII century. In fact the wood has been preliminary analyzed by Dr. Mauro Bernabei of CNR-IVALSA (the institute of the Italian National Research Council specialized in wood sciences). It is a made from an European sprud (Picea abies) and it is composed by 41 rings (probably dating from 1680 to 1721). During the mission was also observed a particular speleothem (a coumn), probably broken during an historical earthquake (maybe the 1976 Friuli earthquake), very interesting for archaeological study of these phenomena.
For more details about this speleoarchaeological exploration, here is the direct link to the technical report (by now in Italian only). 
Have a nice day!

The broken column inside the Bus de la Spia cave

Tuesday 15 October 2019

Forensic Facial Reconstruciotn of St. Catherine of Genua (technical report)

Hi all,
this year we worked on several Forensic Facial Reconstruction (FFR) with our expert Cicero Moraes. One of these projects regards St. Catherine of Genua, whos mortal remains are preserved in the church of the "Santissima Annunziata di Portoria", in Genua, and are considered by the Roman Catholic Church, among the so-called "incorrupted bodies".
The FFR project has been very interesting, since it needed some extraordinary procedures, due to three factors: the exceptional conditions of preservation of the body, the particular structure of the sarcophagus and the history of the different necroscopic reconnaissances of the relics of the Saint.
In order to perform the final FFR, we had to adapt our protocol to this particular situation. The solution came from a 3D model produced with SfM-MVS techniques, without opening the sarcophagus, and from some reverse engineering techniques related with the "Coherent Anatomical Deformation", developed in 2014.
Thanks to the kindness of padre Vittorio Casalino, we can now share not only the final result of our study (image below), but also the scientific report (by now, unfortunately, only in Italian), which you can read on ResearchGate, Academia or simply on the Arc-Team Digital Archive.

The final model of St. Catherine of Genua developed by Arc-Team (FFR by Cicero Moraes, 3D data acquisition by Alessandro Bezzi, historical research by Luca Bezzi)

I will try to translate the text in English ASAP (any help is greatly appreciated), but in the meantime I hope this version will be useful, also to go on with the scientific discussion about FFR (which is pretty animated in the last year).
Have a nice day!

Friday 11 October 2019

I made my own surgical guide using OrtogOnBlender!

Those who follow my work know that I develop an addon called OrtogOnBlender, a learning tool for surgical planning.

I have had the honor of using it to teach many people and also develop surgical guides for the fields of human and veterinary health.

The fact is that these past few weeks, for the first time, I have been using this technology in my own body.

It all started when my dentist asked me to do a CT-scan of an injury that insisted on not completely healing.

Coincidentally, I was teaching a computer graphics course in my city, and my students included radiology and endodontic surgery specialists.

In commenting on my need, I was instructed to take the exam and took the opportunity to proceed with a broad approach. In addition to the tomography of the teeth, they also digitized them in 3D (intraoral digitization). I am very grateful to the staff of the Santa Izabel Clinic, especially Dr. Carlos Augusto Abascal Shiguihara and Dr. Gabriela Zorron Cavalcanti, since I was extremely well attended there.

The first thing we did when we received the CT-scan was to isolate the lesion and reconstruct it in 3D using the Slicer 3D semi-automatic segmentation option. It is evident that the work was followed from the beginning by the surgeon, Dr. Roosevelt Macedo of Statto Clinic, also located in the city I currently live, Sinop-MT, more or less in central Brazil.

Once the lesion was isolated and positioned in a 3D space, I was then able to reconstruct the tomography directly by OrtogOnBlender and import the lesion (in red).

To improve the fit of the future surgical guide, I aligned the teeth from intraoral scanning with those of tomography.

Now we had the teeth, root and lesion very well positioned.

Using OrtogOnBlender's guide creation tools, we designed a structure that fit the teeth while maintaining a safe distance from the gums.

The purpose of the guide was to inform the surgeon of the exact projection of the lesion so that he could access it laterally when drilling the bone.

Here we have a bottom view of the model where we see the tentacular aspect of the guide.

We exported the model as STL and it was printed in high resolution 3D on the premises of Santa Izabel Clinic.

Fine print, but would the model fit properly?

I went to Dr. Roosevelt Macedo's clinic for a test and the model fit perfectly!

We arranged the day of surgery and prepared myself for it.

Snap test at surgery.

Lateral perforation. The image has been edited with grayscale and jagged to avoid shocking readers.

As expected the guide worked very well and allowed the surgeon to find and remove the injury.

I greatly thank the staff of Statto Clinic for the excellent treatment offered.

More than thank the doctors and health experts, I also thank my friend and project partner, Adriano Barreto, who organized the course that kicked off this event.

I hope this is the beginning of a history of using 3D technology more effectively and presently, not only in major cities, but also in more inland cities like mine. It is a great honor and joy to participate in all this, and of course, thanks to you who have read this far.

If OrtogOnBlender interests you, be sure to read the official documentation and download the system that runs on Windows, Mac OS X and Linux:

A big hug!

Monday 9 September 2019

ImageMagick: images to pdf

Hi all,
the time to write new post in ATOR is always less and less. This year we were very busy on the field with several projects that I hope I will be able to report in this blog soon (no idea when...).

This short post is my personal attempt to reactivate the project ATOR (as well as the project ArcheOS), also writing very short texts like this one, inspired by the work we are doing everyday. In this sense I will go on writing also very simple tutorial, since I would like ATOR to remain a source also for newbies.

Today I start with a very simple operation, which can be useful when we have to study old (unpublished) historical sources from archives and libraries. As an example, in these days I am working for the official presentation of the Forensic Facial Reconstruction of St. Caterina Fieschi Adorno from Genua, a project we accomplished thanks to our forensic expert Cicero Moraes. To prepare this reconstruction I had to study some historical sources from the "Archivio Storico dei Cappuccini di Genova" (EN "Historical Archive of the Capuchins of Genoa") and, thanks to the kind help of Dr. Simonetta Otta and fr. Vittorio Casalino I had access to the original scans of old technical reports, written by several specialists who studied the preserved body of St. Caterina during the years. These scans were, obviously, a series of raster images and, in order to simplify their consultation, I composed them into a pdf. To perform this operation I simply used one of ATOR open software: ImageMagick

In short, I simply start the terminal, browsed the image folder (cd PATH_TO_IMAGES) and give this command: covert *.IMAGES_EXTANSION OUTPUT_NAME.

This short videoturial is showing this simple process. I hope it will useful to someone. Have a nice day!

Monday 1 April 2019

CHNT 22, 2017. Proceedings online

Hi everyone.
Since 2017 we are with Marco Block Berlitz and Moritz Mennenga  to organize a session about underwater archaeology during the annual conference Cultural Heritage and Newt Technologie (CHNT), held in Vienna.
This short post is to report that, thanks to the effort of Susanne Uhlirz and Wolfgang Börner, the proceedings of the 22nd conference are now online. This is the direct link to proceedings, while, if you are interested in our contribution ("Documentation and sampling strategies in underwater archaeology. General criteria and specific solutions"), you can read here.

The first slide of Arc-Team's presentation at CHNT 2017
 Have a nice day!

Wednesday 20 February 2019

ArcheoFOSS 2019

Hi everyone,
this fast communication is to inform you that the 13th edition of ArcheoFOSS (the conference about archaeology and FLOSS) will be held tomorrow (February 21, 2019) in Padua, together with the meeting FOSS4G (the annual meeting of the "Italian Association for Free Geographic Information").
As you probably know, if you are a regular reader of ATOR, we have a kind of emotional connection with this event and, for this reason, we always try to follow the conference, possibly showing something new, related with our research in Open Archaeology.

The flyer of FOSS4G 2019

This year we will participate with three presentations:

  1. " Free and open source Remote Piloting Aircraft System", with Luca Delucchi (Fondazione Edmund Mach)
  2. "Participative models in archeology: Wiki e open access platforms", with Lucia Marsicano and Marco Montanari (Open History Map)
  3. "Archeology and 3D in real-time, from the first applications to the SLAM algorithms. The state of the art in the open source world."
If someone of you will join the meeting, we can meet there :).
Have a nice day!

Tuesday 19 February 2019

4D reconstruction of Fort "Rocchetta"

Hi everyone,
it's been a long time since I've written a post. Like always the problem is the lack of time :).
I will try to be more present on ATOR and reactivate our blog, since recently some people wrote me that it has been a good resource for free research in archaeology during the last years. I think that, with the help of readers and authors, the blog can start again to share interesting information about Open Research in our discipline.
Today I will start writing about the result of a study we did in 2018, for an exhibition on the World War I in Non Valley. We were asked to work on the archaeological session of the exhibition, which was held in the town of Livo. If someone is interested in this project, here is the article (in Italian), about our session: it is basically an introduction to Modern Conflict Archaeology, with focuses on the several sub-disciplines which are used in this kind of research (Aerial Archaeology, Glacial Archaeology, High Mountain Archaeology, Underwater Archaeology and Speleoarchaeology).
Working on this project, we tried, like always, to keep an Open Research approach, so that, after the good experience of the Open Source exhibition "Imago Animi", we also organized an editathon for Wikipedia, thanks to the help of the wiki community of our region. I will write in another post about this experience. Today I will share one of the main result: the 4D reconstruction of Fort "Rocchetta", which is one of the main structure of the valley, involved in WW1.

One of the view of the reconstruction of Fort "Rocchetta"

The 4D reconstruction has been performed by our 3D specialist Cicero Moraes in Blender. Technically speaking it is a synchronic 4D, since we reconstructed the building at the moment of its construction (around 1860), but we planned a future development into a diachronic 4D (with all the historical steps that modified the structure), after a more accurate research. We speak about 4D, because this kind of archaeological reconstructions are done to recover the three spatial coordinates (x,y,z, better, n,e,z) and the fourth temporal coordinate (t).

Another view of the reconstruction of Fort "Rocchetta"

Currently the fort is in the state of ruins, so that to perform the reconstruction we started with an archaeological survey on the field, integrated with an historical (archival) research, studying the documents of the Archivio di Stato di Trento and of the Österreichisches Staatsarchiv of Wien. Thanks to this research we were able to find some old pictures, and a map, showing the fort from enough different viewpoints to try a SVR (Single View Reconstruction), based on perspective rules.
If you need to use a similar technique for your work, there are several Free/Libre and Open Source Software to perform this kind of 4D reconstruction. One of the first software of this kind was jSVR, but nowadays I would suggest to use the specific Blender addon BLAM, recently evolved into the project fSpy. BTW Cicero preferred to work directly in Blender, without the use of addons.
Here below is the final video we produce, released with an open license (CC-BY).

I hope this post was useful, have a nice day!
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