Reuse scenario

Iberian Culture Unveiled through 3D Models

Embark on a captivating journey into the rich tapestry of Iberian culture with this use-case scenario led by the University Research Institute for Iberian Archaeology at the University of Jaén, Spain. Delving into the vibrant history of the Iberians, a prominent group inhabiting the southern and eastern regions of the Iberian Peninsula during the Iron Age (6th-1st century BC), this project promises an immersive exploration.
The focal point of this endeavour is a carefully curated collection of 3D models representing archaeological objects tied to the Iberian culture. These models are not just artifacts; they serve as educational tools spanning various levels—primary, secondary, and university education. What makes this initiative even more remarkable is its commitment to inclusivity, catering to individuals with visual impairments.
In refining and enhancing these 3D models, our goal is to create a diverse, inclusive, and engaging experience for users. By leveraging cutting-edge ICT technologies, we aim to present aspects of Iberian life, including religion, ritual, death, society, gender, clothing, and daily life, in a novel and entertaining manner.
Henk Alkemade, CARARE's Deputy Operations Manager, expresses the vision:
"The models, currently accessible on Europeana in pdf format, will undergo a transformation into more user-friendly formats. Through metadata enrichment and reintegration into Europeana, we strive to make them more discoverable, accessible, interoperable, and retrievable."

Iberian 3D Models Tailored for Students

Our 3D models cater to a diverse audience, ranging from primary school children to university students:
  • For primary education, engaging workshops for children aged 6-10 providing a hands-on experience during events like the European Researchers' Night and the School of Science. See: Workshop: Iberian ex-votos: explore the sacred world of Iltir and Neitin
  • Secondary education students (14-16 years old) can participate in workshops held during Science Week and Meetings-UJA, organized by the University of Jaén. See: Iberian 3D models in the Science Week 2023
  • University-level students (18-21 years old) in disciplines such as Archaeology, History, and Computer Science can benefit from lectures, seminars, and practical sessions.

Figure 3. Educational events using Iberian 3D models. Left: workshop with children (6-10 years old). Right: workshop with secondary school students (14-16 years old) (IUIAI-UJA)

These educational events aim to highlight various dimensions through 3D models, covering history with iconographic analysis, methodology explaining the 3D modeling process, conservation emphasizing the effectiveness of 3D models, and dissemination stressing the role of 3D models in understanding the past and promoting social inclusivity.

Figure 4. Left: 3D model of Iberian ex-voto printed using bronze filament. Right: Tridimensional puzzle of an Iberian sculpture representing a wolf (IUIAI-UJA)

Empowering Through Inclusivity: Iberian 3D Models for People with Visual Impairments

In a groundbreaking initiative, our second field of action centers on making Iberian heritage accessible to people with visual impairments. Collaborating with the Iberian Museum of Jaén, we are developing activities that utilize 3D models to disseminate Iberian heritage in a tactile and auditory manner.
The endeavor to enhance access to Cultural Heritage for groups with varying degrees of disability, including individuals with visual impairments, has transcended individual and national boundaries. In 2021, the European Union unveiled the Strategy for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities 2021-2030, signaling a commitment to substantial improvements in the lives of individuals with disabilities. This strategy envisions empowering them to actively contribute to an inclusive, green, and digital economy, reinforcing the core values of the EU.
Emphasizing education and culture as fundamental rights, the strategy urges Member States to champion the arts of persons with disabilities. It calls for increased visibility through exhibitions and performances and advocates for the accessibility of art collections and museums. Notably, the role of 3D models in disseminating archaeological heritage among people with visual impairments is underscored. Museums are evolving by creating inclusive spaces, organizing exhibitions tailored to this user group, and incorporating spatial accessibility, tactile models, 3D printed replicas, braille texts, and explanatory audio files (Figure 5 & 6).

Figure 5. Left: models of Iberian pottery (Archaeological and History Museum of Elche, Spain). Centre: model of the Iberian sculpture Lady of Elche (ONCE Typhlological Museum, Madrid, Spain). Right: model of Greek krater (Museum of Villajollosa, Spain)

Figure 6. Basic schema in museums with rooms for people with visual impairments (IUIAI-UJA/5DCulture)

Looking through the lens of providing valuable historical information to individuals with visual impairments, the 3D models, along with accompanying text and sound files, aim to convey basic knowledge about object types, iconography, and the meanings behind scenes depicted in archaeological material (Figure 7). This holistic approach, exemplified by projects like the Iberians in the 5DCulture project, seeks to offer insights into aspects such as way of life, landscape perception, gender relations, religion, and ritual.

Figure 7. 3D model of an Iberian pottery fragment with geometric embossed decoration (IUIAI-UJA/5DCulture)

From a technical standpoint, 3D printing is far from a simple process. Careful consideration of settings, including size, orientation, filament type, bed levelling, nozzle diameter and temperature, layer height, adhesion assistants, supports, speed of cooling fan, infill density, shell thickness and more, is essential to strike the right balance between time and model quality (Figure 8).
For individuals with visual impairments, controlling the size and scale of the model is crucial for a tactile experience. Choosing the right filament type to achieve an optimal roughness/smoothness level for shape perception is vital. Addressing challenges like marks left by supports when separated from the model, a second filament, polyvinyl alcohol (PVA), could be utilised. After the 3D print is complete, the PVA supports dissolve in water, ensuring a seamless and accessible final product.

Figure 8. Printing of the 3D model of the Iberian sculpture grifomaquia using PLA filament and at a scale of 15% (Height: 13.5 cm, Width: 12 cm, Thickness: 9 cm) (IUIAI-UJA/5DCulture)

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