Photo Masking Palstaves from the Burley Hoard, Hampshire

100% completed

This application enables the creation of a high quality 3D model of an archaeological artefact via process known as photo-masking. There has been a revolution in 3D modelling in recent years and it is now relatively easy to construct such models from ordinary digital photographs. Isolating the object depicted in these photographs, and masking out the background, is an important first step to achieving high quality results. The final 3D model will be made publicly available and is useful not only for basic documentation purposes, but also for graphical displays in museums, for inclusion in gaming and virtual reality environments, or for identifing different sub-styles in otherwise similar types of artefact (that might tell us about the date of the artefact, where it was made, or by whom).

This particular photo-masking application is looking at twelve Bronze Age palstaves found in the Burley hoard, Hampshire, discovered in 1927 in a rabbit burrow.

The Hoard is composed of eleven nearly identical palstaves belonging to Class 1 Group 5a, a Hampshire variant of the developed shield pattern palstaves. These particular artefacts are thought to be cast from the same pattern but not necessarily the same mould. The 3D models generated using the masks will be used to verify the level of similarity between the objects. If the palstaves were cast in a number of clay moulds using the same blank we would expect a higher degree of shape variation than if they were produced in a stone mould. Palstave 1927, 0107.2 is typologically different to the rest of the hoard. It is an early shield pattern palstave which is an older type, however its inclusion suggests a typological link between the early and developed shield pattern palstaves.

We would like people to draw a polygon around the object that they see in each photograph in order to identify its outline and exclude the image background. This allows the 3D modelling process to concentrate on the object itself and ignore irrelevant background information.

If you are interested in what a 3D completed model looks like, please have a look at the example here for a MicroPasts palstave model.

Thank you!

Lucy Ellis, Hugh Fiske, Ernst Schnell, Maria Törmä, Jeff Okazaki, Terry Jackson-Baker, Joellen mcGann, Sara Gibson, Dina Fathalla, Nina Sharman, Jane Fellows, Denis Antoine, Olga Michalaka, Heidi Lund, Tim Matteson, Maragkaki Froso, Maria Christakou, Christopher Wai, Michael George Adams, Van C. Vives, Bruce Lotimer, Soirka, Lisa Cardy, Jennifer Kirkpatrick, Philip G Metherell, Martyn Franklin, Carolyn Rihm, Robert Bevan, Margaret Arighi, Teresa Gilmore, Joan Cawston, David Kim, Wally1976 and other anonymous contributors for completing this application.

This project is on behalf of:

The British Museum logo

Find the code on GitHub