3D-Reconstruction of sculpture fragments found in the ancient Egyptian city Amarna

In 2017/2018 Andreas Mesli and I were helping the Amarna Project by performing 3D reconstruction of six sculpture fragments using structure from motion photogrammetry (SfM, bundle adjustment).

We have taken 96 digital images from each stone fragment excavated from the Ancient Egyptian city Amarna -- the home of the Pharaoh Akhenaten and his queen Nefertiti of the late Eighteenth Dynasty built in 1346 BC and abandoned in 1332 BC.   Structure-from-motion algorithms were used to compute virtual 3d models of each sculpure fragment which can be printed out using a 3d-printer to help the researchers in reconstructing the past amost 3000 years ago.


Structure-from-motion algorithms were used to compute virtual 3d models of each sculpure fragment. The first image shows the reconstructed fragment and the camera positions esimated by the SfM bundle adjustment algorithm.

3D model with estimated camera positions

The following image shows a close-up of one of the six fragments in Mashlab with and then later without texture rendering in order to judge visually the quality of the shape reconstruction. We cut away the supporting structure and the turn table, filled some holes to make the model watertight and scaled the model carefully. The refined model can be exported with or without texture as OBJ or STEP for futher processing and printing.

OBJ model of S-5214 fragment

OBJ model of S-5114 fragment without texture

 The high-poly mesh with around half a million points looks like this:

These models were finally printed out in PLA by Peter Sengstock, as the following videos show:

Print-Out Videos by Peter Sengstock

The printed out dublicates are used to find matching counterparts from existing sculpure fragments stored in museums around the world.  We hope this helps the participating archaeologists to shed more light on our culture heritage almost 3000 years ago.

Stay tuned for more info here and on the following websites. If you want to support the Amarna project, buy a stone for 5€ which is used to reconstruct the Great Aten Temple of Amarna.  Only 5€ for a stone with your name on it to become part of a temple is really a bargain. We did it ;-) .