Modeling of archaeological uncertainty by combining modern 3D
surveying methods for the scientific documentation and promotion
of cultural heritage - Application to the archaeological site of Delphi

Funded Project

PI for TUC
Katerina Mania

• Astrolaboe Engineering G.P.
• Hellenic Mediterranean –  University
• Fokida Ephorate of Antiquities
• Creative Thinking Development
• JGC Geoinformatics systems S.A.

Research Domain
• Uncertainty Modeling
• Cultural heritage
• Augmented Reality


The objective of the proposed project is the development of new innovative methods of documentation, analysis and promotion of cultural heritage monuments combining, for the first time, modern techniques of 3D surveying and the mathematical modeling of archaeological uncertainty, by incorporating it in the three-dimensional reconstruction of archaeological monuments. In archaeological representation, it is commonplace to create diverse scenarios of the original state of the monument and to and revise such plans based on the most recent information.

In the area of Delphi, there are important monuments which inherently communicate elements of uncertainty regarding the reconstruction of their past form. For these monuments, diverse non-invasive capture techniques and 3D imaging techniques will be applied through terrestrial and aerial (via drone or UAV) imagery, laser scanners or optical scanners of varied principles of operation, ranging and precision, the results of which will be integrated, in order to make the best possible use of them for the scientific documentation of cultural heritage.

Then, for the first time, based upon 3D captured data, the development of mathematical models of archaeological uncertainty will be conducted in relation to how an archeological structure was formed in the past. This will provide multiple variants of three-dimensional reconstructions based on historical data and excavation findings, which will offer a whole new set of uses for archaeological 3D models that will broaden the horizons of archaeological research, such as investigating archaeological hypotheses, comparing uncertainties between different models, and identifying areas where further archaeological research may be required. The results and new three-dimensional documentation and reconstruction methods that will emerge from this project will be presented in a pilot interactive demonstration setup, that will be designed and installed at the Museum of Delphi. Furthermore, the new 3D documentation methods will provide the basis for the development of Augmented Reality (AR) applications, implemented with modern software development tools. Visitors will have the opportunity to browse the archaeological site while receiving, on a mobile phone or on a specialized AR display, 3D information in relation to the archaeological monuments as they may have existed in the past, including elements of archaeological uncertainty, combined with real-world exhibits, so that they can acquire the sense of “cultural experience” and broaden their knowledge.

Period: 25 May 2020 – 25 October 2023
3D4DELPHI webpage


Mania, K., Psalti, A., Lala, M.D., Tsakoumaki, M., Polychronakis, A., Rempoulaki, A., Xinogalos, M., Maravelakis, M.  Combining 3D Surveying with Archaeological Uncertainty: The Metopes of the Athenian Treasury at Delphi. In Proc. the Twelfth International Conference on Information, Intelligence, Systems, and Applications (IISA), organized by IEEE. LINK PDF

Katerina Mania, Ann McNamara, and Andreas Polychronakis. 2021. Gaze-aware displays and interaction. In ACM SIGGRAPH 2021 Courses (SIGGRAPH ’21). Association for Computing Machinery, New York, NY, USA, Article 9, 1–67. LINK PDF

Andrew Polychronakis, George Alex Koulieris, and Katerina Mania. Emulating Foveated Path Tracing. In Motion, Interaction, and Games (MIG’21), November 10–12, 2021, Virtual Event, Switzerland.ACM, New York, NY, USA, 9 pages. LINK PDF

Psalti, Athanasia, Marilena, Tsakoumaki, Christina, Mamaloukaki, Michael, Xinogalos, Nikolaos, Bolanakis, Christos, Kavallaris, Andreas, Polychronakis, Katerina, Mania, and Emmanuel, Maravelakis (2023). Advanced Digitization Methods for the 3D Visualization and Interpretation of Cultural Heritage: The Sphinx of the Naxians at Delphi  .3rd International Conference Transdisciplinary Multispectral Modelling and Cooperation for the Preservation of Cultural Heritage. PDF

Polychronakis, A., Koulieris, G. A., & Mania, K. (2023). An Inverted Pyramid Acceleration Structure Guiding Foveated Sphere Tracing for Implicit Surfaces in VR. In T. Ritschel & A. Weidlich (Eds.), Eurographics Symposium on Rendering. The Eurographics Association. LINK PDF

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