Documentation work in the Thracian port city of Ainos (Turkey)

Plan of the geophysical prospection from 2013 [measured by the Institute for Geosciences at the Christian-Albrechts-University in Kiel]. The excavation section marked out in 2015 is marked in red. i3mainz, CC BY SA 4.0

The project running at the RGZM examines the port city of Ainos on the North Aegean in ancient and Byzantine times.


The aim is interdisciplinary research into the historical and environmental development of the square. In addition to the excavation campaigns, archaeological surveys, geological and geophysical prospections, surveying plays an important role in documenting the findings in a shared information system. As part of the cooperation with the RGZM, the concept for the collection, analysis and presentation of all interdisciplinary spatial data is being implemented in cooperation between i3mainz and the RGZM.


During the measurement campaign in the summer of 2015, Christoph Heuser (student of the geoinformatics and surveying course) supported the work on site by i3mainz. In addition to the basic work such as checking and condensing the fixed point field, the geometric recording of archaeological objects could also be continued and their recording refined. In addition to the scientists from Mainz, geoarchaeologists from Cologne were also on site as part of the excavations led by Sait Başaran (University of Istanbul). Through joint analyzes of the spatial data already recorded on site, new questions and further objects to be recorded could be defined.

Based on measured geophysical investigations from 2013, an excavation cut at an unknown anomaly could be precisely defined and archaeologically examined.

In addition to measuring points, in 2015 Christoph Heuser measured a natural sanctuary in a rock face, which only became known in 2014, using SfM. A detailed 3D model of the rock face can be calculated from the randomly recorded images using special software. From this, 2D views could be derived, which served as a drawing basis for the archaeological documentation on site. Geological and artificially created structures in the rock could be made visible using GIS-supported raster tools.


After the end of the measurement campaign, the data was integrated into the PostGIS database set up in 2014 in Mainz. Christoph Heuser processed the spatial data he generated according to defined specifications for integration into the database and analyzed these specifications, which resulted in new suggestions for improving the data with regard to long-term use. These will be taken into account and adopted in the future.

Further tasks were the provision of all geodata recorded in the project via the Internet, which ensures that all project partners have access to the same data.

In summer 2015 it was announced that the interdisciplinary research project led by Prof. Dr. Helmut Brückner (Geographical Institute of the University of Cologne) and PD Dr. Thomas Schmidt (RGZM), which is funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG) as part of the Priority Program 1630 “Ports of the Roman Empire and the Middle Ages”, has been extended for a further 18 months. For i3mainz, this means that data acquisition, data integration and data presentation will continue within the project next year.