Fragments of the City: Stanford's Digital Forma Urbis Romae
Natasha Gelfand, and
Proceedings of the Third Williams Symposium on
Classical Architecture, Journal of Roman Archaeology Suppl. 61,
2006, pp. 237-252.
In this article, we summarize the Stanford Digital Forma Urbis Project
work since it began in 1999 and discuss its implications
for representing and imaging Rome.
First, we digitized the shape and surface of every known fragment of the
Severan Marble Plan using laser range scanners and digital color cameras;
the raw data collected consists of 8 billion polygons and 6 thousand color
images, occupying 40 gigabytes. These range and color data have been
assembled into a set of 3D computer models and high-resolution photographs
- one for each of the 1,186 marble fragments. Second, this data has served
in the development of fragment matching algorithms; to date, these have
resulted in over a dozen highly probable, new matches. Third, we have
gathered the Project's 3D models and color photographs into a relational
database and supported them with archaeological documentation and an
up-to-date scholarly apparatus for each fragment. This database is intended
to be a public, web-based, research and study tool for scholars, students
and interested members of the general public alike.
Fourth, these digital and archaeological
data, and their availability in a hypertext format, have the potential to
broaden the scope and type of research done on this ancient map by
facilitating a range of typological, representational and urbanistic
analyses of the map, some of which are proposed here. In these several
ways, we hope that this Project will contribute to new ways of imaging Rome.
Submitted version of paper
- PDF format (9 MB) - Note that this is a draft paper from 2004, and differs from the published version