Digitizing a boat from the colonial era

Excavations at a new metro station in Sydney, Australia have led to the discovery of a unique archaeological specimen; Digitized by 3D scanning.

Site and excavation site of the Barangaroo boat.  Photo: Silentworld Foundation/Sydney Metro

Site and excavation site of the Barangaroo boat.

Photo: Silentworld Foundation / Sydney Metro

When you talk about unusual encounters in Australia, you probably first think of an unusual, and possibly dangerous, mammal or reptile that has made its way into town. In this case, the confrontation is less life-threatening, because it is about finding a boat dating back to the time of European colonialism. On the site of the future Barangaroo metro station, the Silentworld Foundation team came across the historic shipyard. The Silentworld Foundation is an Australian non-profit organization focused on marine archeology, history, culture and heritage. The area was named after Barangaroo, an indigenous woman of the Cammeraygal clan who was a powerful leader at the time of European colonization.

Modern 3D scanning technology ensures effective processing of historical artifacts

There have been long discussions about how to excavate the 12 meter long and 3 meter wide boat, which is believed to date from about 1820 – in one piece or in smaller pieces. In the end, it was safe to disassemble the body, remove each part, collect it on site, and pack it for later transportation in refrigerated shipping containers. Now the team’s job was to find out all the details about the boat, capture it digitally and recreate it while preparing the original boat for the exhibition. This project was carried out using Artec 3D 3D scanners and associated scanning software. Alternatively, 2D graphics would also have been possible, which is more cost-effective, but time-consuming and imprecise.

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