In recent years, the development of three-dimensional restitution techniques, mainly through laser scanners and digital photogrammetry, has opened up new avenues of research for the technical analysis and identification of the stigma of tool manufacture and the creation of Palaeolithic graphic motifs. The creation of 3D models is one of the laboratory’s most important tasks, with the restitution of numerous cave panels and unpublished artefacts from the sites studied as part of various research projects.
The application of this technique has made it possible to develop a pioneering virtual museum in the field of Palaeolithic art, displaying panels from caves, both Spanish and French, which cannot be visited, as well as pieces of movable art not on display in any museum. In the most difficult cases for the untrained eye to visualise the engraved or painted motifs, a digital tracing has been added to the three-dimensional model generated.
For the restitution of the prehistoric objects, the Prehistoric Technology Laboratory has a Nikon D850 digital camera with a macro lens and a Wacom Mobile Studio Pro 16” 512G digitising tablet to make digital tracings of the Palaeolithic motifs. For the generation of the 3D models, the Agisoft Metashape software is used, as well as Blender and Meshlab for retouching, scaling and adding the tracings.
In addition, the laboratory has a portable Einscan Pro 2X Structured Light Scanner, which allows the restitution of both geometry and texture of movable and rock art at high speed. It supports a variety of scanning modes, from fast manual and HD, to fixed with a turntable, and its small size and lightness allows it to be easily transported.
The Laboratory is currently developing a Proof of Concept project aimed at the creation of three-dimensional products that facilitate the visualisation and knowledge of Palaeolithic art by society in general, thus transferring the results of the research carried out at the different sites studied.