Journal

3-D photogrammetry on the wreck of the Schiedam (1684)

In my novel INQUISITION, Jack and Costas make an astonishing discovery on the wreck of the Schiedam off Cornwall in England. The Schiedam is a real wreck - one of the most fascinating I’ve ever dived on, with a cargo of guns and other objects being brought back from the failed English colony of Tangier in North Africa in 1684. For many years the wreck had been buried in sand, but in 2016 we rediscovered it and since then my colleague Mark Milburn and I have been going out to the site when the weather allows to photograph, video and record as much as we can. In early October this year a huge storm swept the sand from the site again, and after the sea had settled I was able to get out on the wreck over several days and do some fabulous dives in the best visibility I have ever experienced on the site.

These were exactly the conditions I needed to try some photogrammetry of the wreck, and the results are the two models below - one of a two-metre long cannon, the other of a section of worn ship’s timber with a slab of marble beside it. Both of these involved hundreds of overlapping photographs and a lot of time spend white-balancing and sharpening each photo. But it was undoubtedly worth it - 3-D images like this are very evocative and more meaningful from an archaeological viewpoint than the measured and drawn plans that used to occupy huge amount of time underwater.

Click on the images to go to the models on Sketchfab, and zoom in to see close-up detail (for example, the carpentry on the right side of the timber).