Against Gravity

Philip Stinson

Full Paper
Discovering Materiality Through Structure from Motion (SfM) Technology in Roman Architectural Contexts at Aphrodisias Turkey
The ancient city of Aphrodisias, named after its patron deity Aphrodite, was a medium-size city in the Greek-speaking provinces of the Roman empire. The site is well known today for the good preservation of its city center and for its marble inscriptions, sculptures, and architecture. My new architectural research at Aphrodisias uses Structure from Motion (SfM) technology, which involves the computational estimation of three-dimensional structures and spaces from sequences of two-dimensional digital photographs. With SfM, hitherto unrecognized aspects of the ashlar masonry designs of the imperial cult complex known as the Sebasteion (14-68 CE), and of the Civil Basilica (late first c. CE) are being illuminated. At the Against Gravity conference, I will share some of my preliminary results, which include insights into the working methods of the masons who constructed these monuments, as well as discovery of evidence for the plastic manipulation of marble building elements for optical effects on viewers.