Photogrammetry in the dark

Last summer we were working with MSDS Marine on the Thorness Bay wreck in the Solent. The identification of the wreck is so far a mystery but the archaeological evidence suggests a merchant wooden sailing ship dating to a period of the late 19th century. Diving along side us were the Licensees Garry McGinty and Gary Paddock. The work was part of a project funded by Historic England to create a virtual and physical diver trail for the site. Grant Cox of ArtasMedia and Stuart Graeme of CyanSub are using all the archaeological data collected during the project to create the virtual tour.

The site

The wreck lies at a depth of 21 metres in the Solent, just West of Cowes on the Isle of Wight. The layout of the wreck is clearly discernible with a large windlass off the bow and steering quadrant and rudder pintle at the stern. Only the lower hull appears to have survived, which is predominately buried with the exception of the keelson and exposed frames and planking along the port side.


Location of the Thorness Bay Wreck in the Solent.


The aim of the survey was to capture video and stills images of the main archaeological features. These would then be used in the visualisation tour of the wreck. A number of features, including the anchor, the pump and rudder pintle were photogrammetrically surveyed and 3D models were produced.

Although the wreck is not particularly deep, more often that not it can be pitch black on the seabed. This makes conducting photogrammetry particularly challenging but with the use of a quality camera and strobes good results can be gained. Thanks to Dr Fraser Sturt and the University of Southampton for the use of the camera equipment for this project.

Video of photogrammetry survey

The video demonstrates the conditions on the day of the survey.


3D model of the rudder

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