Shipwreck Databases Western Australian Museum

The Kyrenia amphora Project: Creating 3D models of the Kyrenia shipwreck amphorae

Author/s Hassan Elsayed

Year of publication 2021

Report Number: No. 336

One of the most interesting shipwrecks of the 3rd century BC was discovered on the north coast of Cyprus in 1967. During the excavation that took place for two consecutive years, Nikonos underwater cameras were used to record the excavation of the wooden ship and its cargo. Most of the cargo consisted of Rhodian amphorae with a few other amphorae of different types and styles. The records of the excavation consist of a series of black and white films that were photographed at different times from various angles. From these photographs, temporal 3D models were built of the amphora cargo using Metashape by Agisoft. Each temporal 3D model represents a certain phase of the excavation of the wreck and cargo. This step was very selective since a lot of images biased the model and presented distorted results. In order to improve the quality of the models, a histogram equalisation process was applied to all the images using OpenCV. This step provided better models and consequently improved the following processing steps. Common features in the temporal 3D models were exploited to link and align each of them via reference points in order to complete a 3D model for the whole cargo stack. The professional version of Metashape was used to produce the reference points and achieve the alignment between the series of temporal 3D models. The next stage was to match and overlay a 3D CAD model of the amphora to each of the amphorae that appear in the digital 3D models so that a complete CAD model for the whole cargo can be established.  
The concept demonstrated in this work is revolutionary since it proved that it is possible to turn old black and white images into a rigorous 3D model that will significantly assist in studying the cargo and conclude a lot of informative details about the wrecked ship. This work also recommended a thorough criteria of building 3D models. For future work, this document presented a proposed methodology of how to evaluate the precision of the alignment of the temporal 3D models to each other and the amphorae to the