Assembling Virtual Pots from 3D Measurements of their Fragments

David B. Cooper, Andrew Willis, Stuart Andrews, Jill Baker, Yan Cao, Dongjin Han, Kongbin Kang, Weixin Kong, Frederic F. Leymarie, Xavier Orriols, Senem Velipasalar, Eileen L. Vote, Martha S. Joukowsky, Benjamin B. Kimia, David H. Laidlaw, David Mumford

Research output: Chapter in Book/Entry/PoemConference contribution

40 Scopus citations


A heretofore unsolved problem of great archaeological importance is the automatic assembly of pots made on a wheel from the hundreds (or thousands) of sherds found at an excavation site. An approach is presented to the automatic estimation of mathematical models of such pots from 3D measurements of sherds. The overall approach is formulated and described and some detail is provided on the elements of the procedure. The end result is a representation suitable for comparisons, geometric feature extraction, visualization and digital archiving. Matching of fragments and aligning them geometrically is based on matching break-curves (curves on a pot surface separating fragments), estimated axes and profile curves for individual fragments and groups of matched fragments, and a number of features of groups of break-curves. Pot assembly is a bottom-up maximum likelihood performance-based search. In our case, associated with subassemblies of fragments is a loglikelihood which is a sum of energy functions. Experiments are illustrated on pots which were broken for the purpose, and on sherds from an archaeological dig located in Petra, Jordan. The addressed problem and solution can be considered as problems in "geometric learning" and in "perceptual grouping," where subgroups of pot fragments at a site location are to be assembled into individual virtual pots and other fragments are to be discarded as clutter.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationProceedings VAST 2001 Virtual Reality, Archeology, and Cultural Heritage
EditorsS.N. Spencer, S.N. Spencer
Number of pages13
StatePublished - 2001
Externally publishedYes
EventProceedings VAST 2001 Virtual Reality, Archeology, and Cultural Heritage - Glyfada, Nr Athens, Greece
Duration: Nov 28 2001Nov 30 2001

Publication series

NameProceedings VAST 2001 Virtual Reality, Archeology, and Cultural Heritage


OtherProceedings VAST 2001 Virtual Reality, Archeology, and Cultural Heritage
CityGlyfada, Nr Athens


  • Digital Archiving
  • Geometric learning
  • Laser scan data analysis
  • Object modeling and restoration
  • Perceptual grouping
  • Virtual pots from sherds

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Engineering


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