The rise of 3D in maritime archaeology

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This chapter provides an overview of the rise of 3D technologies in the practice of maritime archaeology and sets the scene for the following chapters in this volume. Evidence is presented for a paradigm shift in the discipline from 2D to 3D recording and interpretation techniques which becomes particularly evident in publications from 2009. This is due to the emergence or improvement of a suite of sonar, laser, optical and other sensor-based technologies capable of capturing terrestrial, intertidal, seabed and sub-seabed sediments in 3D and in high resolution. The general increase in available computing power and convergence between technologies such as Geographic Information Systems and 3D modelling software have catalysed this process. As a result, a wide variety of new analytical approaches have begun to develop within maritime archaeology. These approaches, rather than the sensor technologies themselves, are of most interest to the maritime archaeologist and provide the core content for this volume. We conclude our discussion with a brief consideration of key issues such as survey standards, digital archiving and future directions.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication3D Recording and Interpretation for Maritime Archaeology
EditorsJohn McCarthy, Jonathan Benjamin, Trevor Winton, Wendy van Duivenvoorde
PublisherSpringer International Publishing
Number of pages10
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-030-03635-5
ISBN (Print)978-3-030-03634-8
Publication statusPublished - 2019

Publication series

NameCoastal Research Library
ISSN (Print)2211-0577
ISSN (Electronic)2211-0585

Bibliographical note

Open Access. This chapter is licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution4.0 International License(, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format,as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this chapter are included in the chapter’s Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the chapter’s Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder.


  • 3D applications
  • 3D reconstruction
  • 3D mapping
  • Shipwrecks
  • Submerged landscapes
  • Marine survey


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