Skip to main content

Reconstructing the Past: Artificial Intelligence and Robotics Meet Cultural Heritage

Objective

Our goal with this project is to develop a ground-breaking technology to virtually eliminate one of the most labour-intensive and frustrating steps in archaeological research, namely the physical reconstruction of shattered artworks. Indeed, countless vases, amphoras, frescos and other ancient artefacts, all over the world, have not survived intact and were dug out from excavation sites as large collections of fragments, many of which are damaged, worn out or missing altogether. Reconstruction of small artefacts is typically done by experienced operators, possibly with the assistance of dedicated software, but when the number of fragments is large (say, of the order of thousands) manual or computer-assisted restoration is simply hopeless. This prevents a large fraction of the world’s cultural heritage from being openly accessible to scholars as well as the general public. By developing and integrating novel technologies in the fields of robotics, computer vision and artificial intelligence, we envisage a future where archaeology can deal effectively with reconstruction problems at an unprecedented scale and be able to bring back to life ancient artworks and masterpieces which would otherwise remain broken into pieces forever. Specifically, we aim to develop an intelligent robotic system which will autonomously process, match and physically assemble large fractured artefacts at a fraction of the time it takes humans to do. The level of ambition of our proposal poses several challenges that cannot be satisfactorily addressed with off-the-shelf technologies, and hence we shall develop brand-new solutions that will push the boundaries of research in the fields of robotics and computer vision. Our system will be tested over iconic case studies from the UNESCO World Heritage site of Pompeii, and one tangible outcome of the project will be to restore two world-renowned frescos which are now shattered into thousands of fragments and forgotten in storerooms.

Call for proposal

H2020-FETOPEN-2018-2019-2020-01
See other projects for this call

Funding Scheme

RIA - Research and Innovation action

Coordinator

UNIVERSITA CA' FOSCARI VENEZIA
Address
Dorsoduro 3246
30123 Venezia
Italy
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
EU contribution
€ 586 066

Participants (5)

BEN-GURION UNIVERSITY OF THE NEGEV
Israel
EU contribution
€ 580 078
Address
.
84105 Beer Sheva
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
FONDAZIONE ISTITUTO ITALIANO DI TECNOLOGIA
Italy
EU contribution
€ 899 312
Address
Via Morego 30
16163 Genova
Activity type
Research Organisations
ASSOCIACAO DO INSTITUTO SUPERIOR TECNICO PARA A INVESTIGACAO E DESENVOLVIMENTO
Portugal
EU contribution
€ 574 963
Address
Avenida Rovisco Pais 1
1049 001 Lisboa
Activity type
Research Organisations
RHEINISCHE FRIEDRICH-WILHELMS-UNIVERSITAT BONN
Germany
EU contribution
€ 579 825
Address
Regina Pacis Weg 3
53113 Bonn
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
MINISTERO DELLA CULTURA
Italy
EU contribution
€ 301 763
Address
Via Del Collegio Romano 27
00186 Roma
Activity type
Public bodies (excluding Research Organisations and Secondary or Higher Education Establishments)