Grave monuments from Augusta Treverorum, digitally networked

3D model of a relief with equestrian combat and pilaster with capital i3mainz, CC BY SA 4.0

The project Grave monuments from Augusta Treverorum, digitally networked, funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), aims to digitize two extensive complexes of material, primarily from the Rheinisches Landesmuseum Trier, and also from Neumagen-Dhron on the Mosel, with information on Roman grave monuments from Augusta Treverorum, and to make them available online in a scientifically prepared form.


Two major complexes of material are of essential importance for the scientific indexing of the Roman grave monuments from Augusta Treverorum by the classical archaeologists of Goethe University in Frankfurt: The first is the tomb fragments from the Rheinisches Landesmuseum Trier. A large number of these had already been scanned as part of a previous project funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG). The remaining pieces from the museum, along with several fragments of Treverian grave monuments located in the Neumagen-Dhron area, were systematically digitized as part of this project.

The second complex involves around 22,000 glass plate negatives with photographs from the early 20th century in the archive of the Rheinisches Landesmuseum Trier. This stock of images documents the grave monuments at the time they were discovered and recovered or shortly after their transfer to the Rheinisches Landesmuseum Trier.

Both complexes have been digitized as part of this project and will soon be made available to the scientific community.



In two survey periods, from July to October 2018 and in February 2019, student staff from the Department of Geoinformatics and Surveying of Mainz University of Applied Sciences digitized the glass plate negatives of the aforementioned complex in the Rheinisches Landesmuseum Trier. To do so, the i3mainz staff constructed a diffuser table with an aligned digital SLR camera, a Nikon D800 with a ring flash, and ready-made templates for laying out the negatives. They controlled the camera using DigiCamControl software. About 1,000 images are on film strips rather than glass, and it was possible to digitize them using the same workflow.

Around 200 of the plates proved to be damaged. In some of them, the image side was detached from the glass base, and some of the plates were broken. Very old images had already faded so much that the image was barely recognizable.


In March 2019, Laura Raddatz, assisted by two students, scanned the Roman stone fragments in Neumagen-Dhron. Some of the objects are in the local history museum in Neumagen-Dhron. They were captured using an Atos Core structured-light 3D scanner, with the individual scans linked via reference points.

Ms. Raddatz recorded additional objects at the Krebs winery in Neumagen-Dhron using a FARO Freestyle3DX handheld scanner, which allows the objects to be captured quickly and in three dimensions without reference points. The scanner is moved over the object by hand, and the individual scans are automatically linked using a sufficient overlap area.

About sixty kilometers southwest of Neumagen-Dhron near the community of Serrig lie the remains of a Roman tomb, known as the Widdertshäuschen. This too was completely digitally captured with the Freestyle 3DX.

Ms. Raddatz scanned one last complex of Roman stone fragments in the Rheinisches Landesmuseum Trier in July 2020. With the support of students, she was able to digitize 49 objects of various sizes within a week. The largest object is the Neumagen wine ship, about 3 meters long. 3D prints were created of it and six other 3D models, which the archaeologists at Goethe University in Frankfurt will use for their research. Around 50 other stone fragments from the museum in Trier were scanned at the laboratories of the i3mainz.

This work completed the 3D imaging of artifacts on objects in the Rheinisches Landesmuseum Trier and the Georg Heim winery in Neumagen-Dhron that had begun in July 2018. Dr. Ute Kelp from Goethe University accompanied the work from the archaeological perspective.


All 3D models are now available for internal project evaluation using a web application based on 3DHOP.

A cross-project team of the i3mainz and the Roman-Germanic Central Museum (RGZM) is currently working on a metadata schema to describe the technical process of creating 3D models.

In the near future, all digitized copies of the two complexes of material complete with standardized metadata will be published in Arachne, the central object database of the German Archaeological Institute (DAI).