From 30th November to 2nd December 2016 the 3D Huma-Num consortium hosted a three day workshop at the Maison des Sciences de l’Homme d’Aquitaine in Bordeaux , aimed at exploring the current state of the art and issues related to the use of 3D technology in archaeology and cultural heritage sciences.

The workshop, jointly organised by 3 members of PARTHENOS (CNR, CNRS and INRIA) explored a wide range of topics, from the technologies and equipment in use, creation and production and the associated issues of interoperability, standards, quality, IPR and long term preservation with lively discussion contributed by the participants who consisted of archaeologists, computer scientists, historians and researchers. Whilst 3D technologies have developed rapidly over the last ten years or so and are fast becoming part of the archaeologist’s tool kit, there is still a need for better support particularly in the area of metadata where tools which can support the automatic completion of standard data, extraction of information through text processing.

On the third day, the participants split into four groups to identify the key issues, possible actions that PARTHENOS could take on and other possible next steps. The topics addressed and key actions were:

Production and processing of 3D Objects

This topic had a very large scope – fifteen separate key points were highlighted. It is also highly technology dependent and the landscape is evolving rapidly. PARTHENOS could contribute by collating (existing) best practices and guidelines (e.g. 3D-ICONS reports).


Metadata is key to the PARTHENOS objectives and it was felt that this area was one where a significant contribution can be made. A target metadata schema can be developed with mappings made from existing schemas in use by the partners. A repository can also be developed to aid discovery of 3D objects. Definition of metadata for the production process (based on a 4 sector model which comprises technical metadata for the object itself, the provenance data, argumentation or production information) and better tools for the creation of metadata in the first place.

State-of the art visualisation technologies

The key points here are: ownership of data, data protection, browser limitations and, big data files. For example, local processing vs. cloud. A cloud infrastructure is very useful for processing and for visualisation and analysis. PARTHENOS can help identify what features would be needed and what the complications may be. For search & retrieval, PARTHENOS needs to study this problem and understand what is needed and feasibility of implementation. (User reqs, doable goals, future goals). Finally, encoding and including time (period of interest) these are two different concepts and there is a need to define a common method to conceive time across the communities. (E.g. PERIODO as used by ARIADNE)

3D, Cultural heritage and museology

The key aim here is to define 3D rules for users and re-users and build bridges between the different communities (e.g. cultural institutions / social sciences scholars / 3D (scientific) producers). This can be achieved by discussing common values in sharing knowledge and practices with the aim of sharing best practices (whilst avoiding imposing a one best way).

The outcome of the 3D Workshop will be a White Paper which will contain proposals for solutions to the issues identified by the Working Groups that align with the objectives of PARTHENOS. Publication is planned for Spring 2017