WMG brings Roman statue to the 21st century

Warwick WMG are helping to restore a Roman statue to its original condition, using advanced computer and laser technology.

The statue comes from the ancient Roman town of Herculaneum, buried when Mount Vesuvius erupted in 79AD under 50-60 feet of mud ash and lava.

This preserved the statue, believed to be a wounded Amazonian warrior, perfectly for 1600 years, including the paintwork. The town was discovered by people trying to dig a well in 1709.

Archaeologists at Southampton University and the Herculaneum Conservation Project contacted Warwick WMG department with knowledge of the department’s expertise in high resolution laser scanning, rapid prototyping and ultra-realistic computer graphics.

Dr David Williams, a leader in laser technology and a team of researchers went to the site and are now working in conjunction with Southampton University Researchers and the Herculaneum conservation project to scan, model and digitally bring the statue back to life.

The whole surface of the head has been accurately recorded by lasers that can measure the surface to 0.05mm. This could then be used to make a 3d model of the bust.

Dr Mark Williams said, “The statue is an incredible find. Although its age alone makes it valuable, it is unique because it has retained the original painted surface, preserved under the volcanic material that buried Herculaneum.”

The Southampton University team combined this technique with digital photography technology to record the exact texture and colour. Using original material developed for the film industry the statue head will have the paint re-applied to a virtual model.

The head of WMG’s visualisation team, Professor Alan Chalmers is working with a realistic graphics expert and will try to reproduce the lighting and conditions the statue would have been displayed in originally.

This technology will shed new light on an object 2000 years old.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.