Science and Heritage Programme

Alternative Views on the Lost Heritage of Gwynedd

Bangor University

Award Holder - Dr Jonathan Roberts


Alternative Views on the Lost Heritage of Gwynedd

Computer photogrammetry techniques have advanced enough to utilise multiple 2D photographs of the same object, building or environment, perform a registration of them and calculate a 3D model from the 2D photos. This project will create 3D models from the photographs in the archives and allow users to navigate and view these 3D scenes.

The work will focus on heritage photographs that are stored as an image archive of Gwynedd Archaeological Trust (GAT), photographs that were taken many years ago, and not for the purpose of creating a 3D picture. Many of the photographs depict assets that have long disappeared, or excavations that have been built upon. Thus we aim to re-create 3D models of images that cannot be digitised into 3D today - we are creating the lost heritage of Gywnedd. We will also elicit stories from public engagement and collate information on these pictures. Therefore, we will present alternative views on the lost heritage of Gwynedd. Different representations will be included: the 2D pictures, interactive 3D models, stories and
interpretations of the heritage asset, and where appropriate 3D physical models printed through rapid prototyping techniques.

By making enhanced archival data publicly available in formats it was not available before, the project also will also contribute to the AHRC's care for the future research theme.


This work is important nationally and seeks to address a timely problem. There are many photographs of old heritage artefacts, objects and buildings, if it is possible to re-create then automatically through this method then other archives can develop similar 3D models and utilize the methodology that we are investigating. While researchers have used photogrammetry techniques on photographs, the photographs were especially taken for this purpose. We are achieving this on unprepared photographs that were not arranged for this purpose. Therefore this is an important challenge. Also there is much benefit in creating alternative representations and integrating different stories: users are able to understand the information better, and to explore the information, and develop their own conclusions.

There is much benefit to other researchers. It will benefit researchers at each institutions: Bangor and Aberystwyth. It will also develop skills of the local community, through the community involvement. This project will also strengthen the established Research Institute of Visual Computing (RIVIC) (, which is a collaborative network of four universities in Wales: Bangor, Aberystwyth, Cardiff and Swansea. Since exploration and enhance issues are relevant for many problems that the researchers in RIVIC are dealing with, the expertise in this area will be beneficial for the entire institute.

This work will contribute to UK's research standing through published papers (that will be presented in peer review conferences and journals). Also, the workshop will enable researchers to discuss these issues, and it is hoped that this workshop will engender new research areas and future research projects.

Pathway to global impact. The website and exhibition will enable us to start to promote the work to a wider audience and therefore have far reaching impact. We are specifically collaborating with the University of Vienna in this proposal, such to collaborate with researchers who have developed appropriate experience and skills, and have recently published on similar challenges. Through this collaboration the research will naturally have wider reach. In particular, other EU projects could be developed in this area, strengthened by the collaborations that are formed through this work.