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3D Scans Reveal Ancient Art in Alabama Cave


Photographer Stephen Alvarez in the glyph chamber of the 19th Unnamed Cave.

A new study details how a team of scientists used three-dimensional photo mapping to recreate the tight crevices of an Alabama cave and reveal previously unnoticed etchings.

Credit: Alan Cressler

A team of researchers from the University of Tennessee used three-dimensional (3D) photo mapping to find previously hidden ancient etchings in an Alabama cave.

The 3D photogrammetry process is designed to capture photos that overlap by 60% to 80%, and to blend them using a computer program that lets users adjust the distance to add dimension.

The researchers recorded 16,000 images in the 19th Unnamed Cave, manipulating distance to lower the cave floor to expose a wider view of the ceiling, revealing etchings invisible in person.

The team suggested the technique "can revolutionize the study of rock art."

From Discover Magazine
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