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The Kivik tomb: Bredarör enters into the digital arena - documented with OLS, SfM and RTI

Conference paper
Authors Ulf Bertilsson
Johan Ling
Catarina Bertilsson
Richard Potter
Christian Horn
Published in New Perspectives on the Bronze Age : proceedings of the 13th Nordic Bronze Age Symposium held in Gothenburg 9th to 13th June 2015 / edited by Sophie Bergerbrant and Anna Wessman
ISBN 978-1-78491-598-8
Publisher Archaeopress
Place of publication Oxford
Publication year 2017
Published at Department of Historical Studies
Language en
Keywords rock art, 3D documentation, slabs, burial, mound, Scania.
Subject categories History and Archaeology


The Bredarör cairn in Kivik sparked the interest of researchers by presenting the rare combination of rock art within a burial con- text. A recent documentation project that employed the traditional tracing method has sparked a new debate about the precision of older tracings and frottages. This paper presents the results of a holistic recording of the slabs in the Bredarör cairn using three modern methods: Structure from Motion (SfM), Optical Laser Scanning (OLS) and Reflectance Transformation Imaging (RTI). In discussing SfM, OLS and RTI, the paper demonstrates the power of these tools to expand the capabilities to record rock art in an unbiased fashion and in greater detail. In contrast to older methods, the depth and texture of features on the rock are documented and human error is reduced, because everything is recorded. Some observations of the earlier documentation efforts were confirmed, and more details added, such as information on ship prows and horse design. This allowed an in-depth discussion of the dating and use of rock art in the Bredarör cairn. It is argued that although there is evidence that the slabs were transformed several times, the majority of the carving activity was carried out during Period II of the Nordic Bronze Age. It suggests that an important individual, possibly connected to long-distance trade, was interred in the cairn that subsequently served as a necropolis until the Late Bronze Age.

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