3D modelling brings shipwrecks to life as international experts gather at Flinders

Some of the most advanced 3D modelling techniques will bring shipwrecks to life at a Maritime Archaeology workshop from today until Saturday (24-26 November) in Adelaide as the best technology and leading international experts gather at Bedford Park.

Techniques on display include 3D underwater survey using a technique called photogrammetry and marine laser scanning, high-resolution seabed and sub-seabed sonar survey, and a range of visualisation techniques including colour 3D printing of shipwreck sites.

The workshop will also feature a presentation on the Crabster, a sophisticated submersible robot under development in Korea.

Students will also take advantage of a cutting-edge 3D visualisation invention being developed in South Australia – the ‘Voxiebox’ holographic projector that has just received $1m funding from local investors.

The Star Wars-inspired Voxiebox, created by Adelaide inventors Will Tamblyn and Gavin Smith, will be used to generate 3D projections of shipwrecks. The use of this technology for maritime archaeology will be showcased for the first time at the workshop on Friday morning.


Flinders, which has one of the world’s leading Maritime Archaeology programs and is current Chair of the UNESCO UNITWIN Network for Underwater Archaeology, has assembled an impressive array of international experts for the event.

These include Dr Kalliopli Baika from Aix-Marseille Universite in France; Dr James Hunter III from the Australian National Maritime Museum, Zaid Morsey from Alexandria University, Egypt; Dr Barbara Davidde from the Istituto Superiore per la Conservazione ed il Restauro, Italy; and Dr YonHwa Jung from the National Research Institute of Maritime Cultural Heritage in South Korea.

Flinders Maritime Archaeologist Dr Jonathan Benjamin said the event would showcase some of the most advanced technologies and techniques being used to help archaeologists reconstruct underwater sites all over the world.

“Surveying and reconstructing underwater sites comes with some obvious challenges that the technology we will be looking at this week at Flinders is helping us helping us to overcome, often in dramatic fashion,” said Dr Benjamin.

“We’ll be demonstrating the technology and techniques by bringing more sites, shipwrecks and artefacts to life than you would normally get to see in years of research, so this is a really rare opportunity.”

Flinders PhD candidate John McCarthy, who recently moved to Flinders from Wessex Archaeology, has worked on some of the UK’s most dramatic 3D underwater archaeology reconstructions.

He will demonstrate how a combination of advanced underwater surveying and 3D printing allowed him to resurrect everything from lost cannons to entire ships.


Currently confirmed presentation speakers include:

  • Professor Mark Shortis (School of Mathematical and Geospatial Sciences, RMIT University) – Calibration of camera systems for underwater photogrammetry;
  • Dr Kalliopi Baika (Aix-Marseille Université/ Ephorate of Underwater Antiquities Department) – Presenting Photogrammetric 3D recording essays in the Submerged harbour infrastructure of the Ancient and Medieval Harbour of Kyllene/Glarentza (NW Peloponnese, Greece);
  • Dr J. Hunter III (Australian National Maritime Museum/Adjunct Lecturer Flinders University) – Using Digital Visualisation of Archival Sources to Enhance Archaeological Interpretation of the ‘Life History’ of Ships: The Case Study of HMCS/HMAS Protector;
  • Dr Massimiliano Secci (Università degli Studi di Sassari) – Presenting Computer Vision Photogrammetry (CVP) for Maritime Archaeology Research and Public Outreach: a recording and surveying procedure combining photogrammetry and Differential Global Positioning System (DGPS);
  • Dr YonHwa Jung (National Research Institute of Maritime Cultural Heritage South Korea) – High-resolution sub-seabed survey and visualisation – recent Korean case studies;
  • Dr Fraser Sturt (Associate Professor of Archaeology at the University of Southampton) – From integration to explanation: moving from 3 to 4 dimensions. Maximising the temporal potential of 3D datasets with regard to integration and comparison of data from multiple sources (e.g bathymetry, photogrammetry, lidar);
  • Dr Daniel Atkinson (Wessex Archaeology UK) – 3D scanning and mapping of the City of Adelaide;
  • Ziad Morsy (Alexandria Centre For Maritime Archaeology, Alexandria University, Egypt) – Recent 3D survey work in Eygpt;
  • Dr Douglas Bergersen (Innomar/Acoustic Imaging) – Innomar’s Parametric Sub-Bottom Profiler (SBP) survey of sub-seabed Viking fortifications in the Baltic;
  • Dr Andrew Hutchison (Curtin University) – Early results of the high resolution imaging of HMAS Sydneyand HSK Kormoran;
  • Professor Jorg Hacker (Flinders University/ Airborne Research Australia) – Underwater archaeology using Riegl bathymetric lidars – an overview. This talk will present an overview of the technology with case studies from Australia and overseas;
  • John McCarthy (Flinders University) – The 17th/18thcentury Drumbeg shipwreck in Scotland – seamless integration of multi-sensor non-intrusive 3D survey;
  • Trevor Winton (Flinders University) – James Matthewstrial Sub-Bottom filer survey;
  • Madeline McAllister (University of Western Australia) – Image-based 3D underwater recording and ocularcentrism;
  • Kevin Edwards (Flinders University) – 3D photogrammetry for and by the public; and
  • Andrew Ternes (Melbourne Ports). Integration of topographical and bathymetrical surveys in high-resolution textured 3D prints.
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