Virtual Archaeology Review <p style="text-align: justify;">The <strong><em>Virtual Archaeology Review</em> (VAR)</strong> is an international web-based, open-access, peer-reviewed scholarly journal. Its focus is a mix of arts and engineering that research on the new field of virtual archaeology. The journal is broadly interdisciplinary, publishing works by scholars in the fields of conservation, documentation, 3D surveying, computer science, dissemination, gaming and other similar disciplines related to heritage and archaeology.</p> Universitat Politècnica de València en-US Virtual Archaeology Review 1989-9947 <p><a href="" rel="license"><img src="" alt="Creative Commons License" /></a></p> <p>This journal is licensed under a <a href="" rel="license">Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License</a>.</p> More than words: a study on the visibility of hand gestures in public spaces <p>Hand gestures play an important role in human communication. Although the study of their repertoires and roles for past communities is a popular field of research, there has been no attempt so far to study their visibility during public events. The aim of this study was to determine the maximum number of people who could see hand gestures well enough to understand their meaning. Using gestures taken from ancient Roman rhetorical treatises, which we divided into three classes related to the detail of the gestures (fingers, hand, arm, or arms), we conducted a series of experiments to determine the maximum distance from which each class of gestures could be seen. We used the results, including regression analysis, to conduct visibility analyses for two case studies: one on the rostra on the Late Republican Forum Romanum in Rome; and the other on Pyramid No 3 in the centre of Late-Classical Mayan Tikal. We used the calculation of the areas where gestures were visible to estimate crowd sizes by drawing on crowd behaviour observation during contemporary public gatherings. They show not only how many people could have potentially seen the gestures, but also what percentage of the theoretically available space could have been occupied by people who had the potential to see them. According to the findings, only a little under half (44.8%) of the maximum possible audience were able to detect all types of gestures (various levels of detail) at the LR Roman Forum, while at Pyramid No 3 in Tikal, just a mere 16.7% were able to do so. We believe that the results presented and the methodology used can be applied to analyse any public space, regardless of place and time, thus providing a valuable tool to comprehend past public assemblies.</p> Kamil Kopij Kaja Głomb Szymon Popławski Copyright (c) 2023 Virtual Archaeology Review 2023-07-15 2023-07-15 14 29 1 13 10.4995/var.2023.19315 Virtual assessment of a possible meningioma in a Roman-period cranium <p>Diseases have accompanied human populations since prehistoric times. Knowing the paleopathologies and their consequences derived from them can help us to understand their impact and how have been decisive in our ancestors' ways of life. Taphonomic and paleopathological studies are key to understanding how injuries occurred; they can provide information on causes of death, analyzed populations behaviour, such as the existence of interpersonal conflicts or how they took the care of the sick. Those studies also confirm the existence of certain diseases, mentioned in the archaeological record. This paper explains the analysis of four lesions found in a Roman-era cranium from <em>Sima de Marcenejas</em>, located in Northern Spain. An anthropological analysis of this cranium has revealed that it corresponds to an adult male individual. This work focuses on the differential diagnosis of the lesions, to be able to discern the most likely aetiologies. The following techniques have been implemented: classical morphological analysis, forensic taphonomic analysis and virtual analysis. MicroCT and 3D microscopy have been used as essential tools for the virtual analysis of the cranium and its lesions. The results obtained revealed the existence of a tumour and three exocranial traumas, all of them antemortem. The location of the tumour, as well as its morphology together with other aspects, support the meningioma as the most probable tumour type. This possible ancient meningioma represents the first case for these chronologies on the Iberian Peninsula, where there are few documented cases. The three traumatic lesions reveal the existence of injuries produced by both, blunt and sharp objects, related to events of interpersonal violence. By applying virtual 3D analyses, the researchers have demonstrated that it is viable to identify tumours in those internal cranial regions, where the lesion is not visible, thus providing new comparative data for the paleopathological record of past populations.</p> <p>Highlights:</p> <ul> <li>Meningiomas are rare in the archaeological record which complicates tracing themin ancient human populations.</li> <li>The use of computerized microtomography (MicroCT) and virtual 3D models makes it possible to identify tumoursin those internal cranial regions where the lesions are not visible.</li> <li>Paleopathological analysis of a Roman cranium has revealed, in addition to cranial trauma, a new possible case of meningioma.</li> </ul> Daniel Rodríguez-Iglesias Ana Pantoja-Pérez Pilar Fernández-Colón Adrián Pablos Manuel Alcaraz-Castaño Nohemi Sala Copyright (c) 2023 Virtual Archaeology Review 2023-07-28 2023-07-28 14 29 14 25 10.4995/var.2023.19680 Application of photogrammetry and laser scanner on the Bronze Age structures of the Castillejos de Luna cist tomb necropolis (Pizarra, Spain) <p>The cist tombs necropolis at Castillejos de Luna, in Sierra de Gibralmora-Sierra del Hacho (Pizarra, Málaga, Spain) was known from the graphic documentation and the grave goods of two tombs. New studies have documented nine burials. The aim of this article is to present the new virtualisation work that has been carried out in the necropolis, to generate a new three-dimensional (3D) documentation of the currently known records, which are in acceptable visibility conditions. Using tools to document tombs in 3D offers us great advances in data acquisition and editing, with great precision and realism, thanks to the 3D models generated through techniques such as photogrammetry or laser scanning. Thanks to these tools, it is possible to carry out studies on digital twins and use them as informative material for society. The study this paper describes has generated high quality products for dissemination and future analysis. The results shown here are of metric character, with orientation and geographical location of the structures. In addition, in one of the tombs the authors show the combination of photogrammetric techniques with laser scanners to obtain a single high-resolution 3D model; subsequently a retopology process is carried out to achieve a "light" model with a photorealistic appearance that is both easily manipulated on mobile devices for its dissemination and a guarantee that the general public can enjoy this necropolis in a different way. The preliminary results are published in the web repository of 3D models Sketchfab, where the users can see a preview of one of the tombs before and after being optimised with retopology through Blender. The authors provide a socio-historical analysis of Bronze Age necropolises in central Andalusia, within the framework of a debate on the western expansion of the El Argar Culture.</p> Alejandro Muñoz-Muñoz Diego Fernández-Sánchez Eduardo Vijande-Vila Serafín Becerra-Martín Juan Jesús Cantillo-Duarte Salvador Domínguez-Bella Virgilio Martínez Enamorado Francisca Rengel Castro Pedro Cantalejo Duarte María del Mar Espejo-Herrerías José Suárez-Padilla Juan Antonio Martín-Ruiz José Ramos-Muñoz Copyright (c) 2023 Virtual Archaeology Review 2023-07-28 2023-07-28 14 29 26 44 10.4995/var.2023.19126 Rendering Uqlīsh: virtual reconstruction of the architecture of the Order of Santiago in the territory of Uclés through the Order’s inspection records <p>At the end of the Middle Ages, in the Iberian Peninsula, history was the driving force behind the evolution of architecture towards more rational and efficient solutions. Among the driving forces behind this change were military orders, which managed to solve a problem whose solution had been impossible to find for centuries: the vast plains of the peninsula's plateau that had been unconquerable for Christians until then. Among these, the Order of Santiago stood out because it managed to configure fairly homogeneous architectural models in a very large territory. This Order’s inspection records (‘<em>libros de visita</em>’) included many texts with information that allowed multiple analyses.</p> <p>This article studies the medieval architectural heritage of the Order of Santiago in Uclés, developed as a historical account of the architecture built in medieval times. Due to the historical and architectural breadth, defining a more modest and concrete context has been necessary: the conquest by the Order of Santiago of the territory of Uclés, nowadays an area in the current Spanish provinces of Cuenca, Madrid, and Toledo; it comprised the lands in which the town and villages of Uclés were located, with the addition of nearby villages or places related to the history of the Order and Uclés (defining the so-called territory of Uclés). This area was framed within the conquest of the Iberian Peninsula in the 12<sup>th</sup> and 13<sup>th</sup> centuries.</p> <p>The architecture of the Order included all types of constructions, regardless of their form, function, or typology; their common characteristic was that they were the node where all the socio-economic variables plus hierarchical and organizing aspects of the political space converged: this study takes into account the symbolic function that constructions acquired in relation to the territory occupation. The first image of this architecture is that of the military buildings followed by religious constructions (those that have survived); the civil architecture and town planning are also studied, all of which were initially understood as defensive tools. They later became fundamental pillars on which the territorial organization was based.</p> <p>This research is focused mainly on improving the historical and architectural reality knowledge of the territory of Uclés; its history and evolution are analysed from its conquest to its consolidation through the architecture built there. This is supported by previous studies, with the bibliography and documentation found.</p> <p>From the very beginning, it was advisable to study the contents of the inspection records, as the main source for learning about the Order's architecture, although the first preserved descriptions date back to the second half of the 15<sup>th</sup> century. Therefore, the architecture study of the territory of Uclés, can only be done in the context of the 12<sup>th</sup> and 13<sup>th</sup> centuries, by looking back to the architecture described from the end of the 15<sup>th</sup> century onwards.</p> <p>The proposed methodology was based on the historical-archaeological vision of architecture, relying both on documentary information gathered from written sources, and also on archaeological reality. The authors encountered many limitations with regard to the history and archaeology of this architecture, and only in specific situations was it possible to develop the proposed method; the reasons were the scarcity of writings or remains, as well as the texts and vestiges lack of coherence).</p> <p>To elaborate on the graphic hypotheses of the constructions, it was necessary to filter out those texts that presented a certain confusion in the descriptions development, or those that contained scarce architectural details.</p> <p>Most of the buildings studied have not been totally preserved and/or have even completely disappeared. The passing of time, alterations, and changes in use, make it difficult, if not impossible, to find a correspondence between what these buildings were and their exact current location. In addition, another difficulty found in making the drawings was the way in which the visitors described the buildings, which the authors tried to alleviate: when it was possible to confirm or determine certain aspects, this was done by studying the inspection records in different years.</p> <p>This study has not provided all the expected usefulness, especially in terms of facilitating graphic analysis. Even so, other interests have been more than covered by the research. The inspection records turned out to be sources for historical study, providing information beyond what is imagined; they are sources for hypothesizing construction drawings thanks to their descriptive richness and for their analysis, because they include various descriptions; they are also sources for enriching the historical and architectural lexicon.</p> <p>The integration of digital technologies into this architectural environment allows us, on the one hand, to extend our knowledge of it by creating a building registration list; on the other hand, it is also possible to carry out a broader analysis that delves deeper into floor plans and volumes, thus completing a renewed architectural catalogue that favours interest in studying a legacy that, until a few years ago, was destined to be lost.</p> Pilar Moya-Olmedo Copyright (c) 2023 Virtual Archaeology Review 2023-07-15 2023-07-15 14 29 45 67 10.4995/var.2023.19215 The colonial impact on the Mariana Islands (17th-18th centuries) through virtual archaeology: change and identity <p>Virtual archaeology has become increasingly relevant recently. However, different historical scopes still need to be looked at under this specialization. This paper focuses on one of them: the Mariana Islands, an archipelago located in the Pacific Ocean, crucial in the relations between America and the Philippines during early Spanish colonialism. On the one hand, the project has dealt with pre-Hispanic structures (10th-16th centuries), and, on the other hand, it has focused on the strategies of colonial settlement (17th-18th centuries). The 3D recreation of these two contexts has allowed us to rethink different human processes associated with the transition from pre-colonial structures to modernity. The hypothesis that buildings were not only the reflection of specific social dynamics, but also places which participated in them, firmly suggests that a particular type of identity and a gender-system existed thanks to architecture.<br />Starting in the 16th century, the Society of Jesus became one of the cultural engines in the expansion of the Hispanic Crown throughout the Atlantic and Pacific. In these regions, the ecclesiastics established the community model called "reductions", places controlled by the colonial system where the transculturation of the native populations took place. This was done through teaching in schools and churches, but also from the very structuring of spaces and homes within the settlements. However, this work has dealt with a major problem: the lack of information about reductions in the Mariana Islands. Focusing on this question, the development of settlement patterns had to be studied. The analysis included not only written and archaeological records, but also parallels in Latin America. Since these processes have been framed in what is currently known as the “first globalization”, it is expected that different cases in different parts of the world would be connected, and this study seems to confirm it.<br />Methodologically, a study on each building has been carried out. Likewise, how these buildings would be related to each other has also been a fundamental aspect to be analyzed. This has allowed the research team to reconstruct them through specialized software (Blender), taking into account the sources’ veracity scale. Finally, buildings have been analyzed according to their historical context. This analysis has been structured around how the historical subjects perceived the environments in which they lived. In this way, the role that the idea of rationality played in these processes has been highlighted, giving a new meaning to the different social values apprehension.<br />Two models were developed thanks to the technical work. The first one corresponds to a “latte” structure (Fig. 14), part of the prehistoric period of the islands (specifically, in its last phase 10th-16th centuries). The second one shows a model of “reduction” from the reconstruction of the San Dionisio church (Umatac, Guam) and the houses that are expected to accompany it (Fig. 15). By interpreting these spaces there is evidence to admit that the introduction of the "urbanism" concept during the Jesuit phase completely transformed the settlement patterns. The worldview of the study subjects changed because so did the way they structured their world. In this way, daily life became marked by rationality, hierarchy, the nuclear family, and a progressive individualization of identity.<br />Certain limitations or biases of the study must be identified. On the one hand, the lack of information about the “reductions” has already been mentioned, but it is also necessary to consider the reliability of those available. The consulted engravings present a high degree of idealization, which has made it difficult to differentiate what was real and what was an author license. On the other hand, until more excavations are carried out, the compatibility of the Latin American parallels with those of the Marianas Islands will not be unequivocally verified. In any case, the authors believe that the contribution of this article has a broader meaning: it deals with general dynamics that, in principle, should not be altered by small changes in the morphologies of the buildings studied.<br />To conclude, by creating 3D models, the authors have contributed to a better understanding of a series of social dynamics that had not been fleshed out until now. For the first time, a virtual archaeology proposal has been made on what the “reductions” on the islands would be like. This has allowed the research team to analyze the impact they had on the prehistoric populations that previously lived there. In this way, it has been verified that space organization formed, by itself, an element of transculturation that transformed the worldview of its populations, giving new meaning to social identity, gender roles, hierarchical models, and the idea of family.</p> Luis Berrocal-Maya Copyright (c) 2023 Virtual Archaeology Review 2023-07-28 2023-07-28 14 29 68 83 10.4995/var.2023.19447 3D modelling of archaeological structures and deposits as a method of documentation and dissemination: the case of San Esteban Archaeological Site (Murcia, Spain) <p>The research project carried out between 2018 and 2020 at San Esteban archaeological site (Murcia, Spain), under the agreement signed between the University of Murcia and the <em>Ayuntamiento</em> of Murcia, was realized by a series of archaeological excavation campaigns in different parts of this enclave. Of the sectors involved, we have chosen the four most relevant ones: the buildings known as “Recinto I” and “Recinto II, the "Oratory" and the cemetery or <em>Maqbara</em> (Fig. 1). The objectives of the research project were the review and diagnosis of the state of conservation, the interdisciplinary study, the adoption of consolidation measures and the temporary exposure of the sectors involved (<a href="#Eiroa2019">Eiroa et al., 2019</a>; <a href="#Eiroa2021">2021</a>).</p> <p>San Esteban archaeological site is located within the current urban centre of the city of Murcia. It is a good example of medieval Islamic urban design in a part of the old suburb of <em>Arrixaca</em>, a neighbourhood outside the walls of the city that seems to have been formed during the eleventh century.</p> <p>The graphic record in archaeology has been an intrinsic part of the discipline since its inception (<a href="#Caballero">Caballero, 2006</a>). Photography and archaeological drawing have been the main ways of documenting an archaeological excavation with the double objective of achieving a topographical reconstruction and ordering the material remains by means of a stratigraphic sequence. Photogrammetry has become one of the main techniques in archaeology and is a great support in the topographic and planimetric survey of high precision and graphic representation. The use of drones or unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) (<a href="#Korumaz">Korumaz &amp; Yıldız, 2021</a>), high-resolution digital cameras and the appropriate software has enabled their application in numerous cases, generating extensive quality records, as can be seen in the field of medieval archaeology (<a href="#Enríquez">Enríquez et al., 2020</a>; <a href="#García">García-Molina, González-Merino, Rodero-Pérez &amp; Carrasco-Hurtado, 2021</a>; <a href="#Ruiz">Ruiz, Gallego, Peña, Molero &amp; Gómez, 2015</a>) or in the study of medieval buildings.</p> <p>In the fieldwork at San Esteban archaeological site, a series of topographic instruments and photogrammetric software in a 4D sequence have been used, allowing not only the documentation in the plan of the archaeological structures, but also the location of the deposits in a stratified sequence. For the generation of these diachronic three-dimensional models, the Agisoft Metashape software was used, based on the SfM (Structure from Motion) technique of geometric analysis of clusters of pixels from photographic perspectives with different parallaxes. This technique has become an important methodological dynamic in the archaeological record (<a href="#Maldonado">Maldonado, 2020</a>: 196-203), improving the work of topography in the field of geomatics (<a href="#Marín">Marín, 2020</a>).</p> <p>The results obtained have allowed the creation of a vector plan of the documented structures and the registration through the SfM photogrammetry of elevations (Fig. 6) and of the depositional process of the sectors involved (<a href="#Charquero">Charquero, 2016</a>; <a href="#Semeraro">Semeraro, 2008</a>). As an example of this methodology, a practical case within the building known as “Recinto I” is highlighted (Fig. 7). This exercise carried out in the <em>Espacio 4 </em>has made it possible to measure the development of the excavation by continuously recording the activity at a specific point of the site. Also, a detailed delimitation of the extension and volumetric shape from the contact surfaces of a stratigraphic unit has been made, reflecting the physical aspects of the deposit itself at a visual level (Fig. 9). It is a method which emphasises the documentation of the depositional process from a three-dimensional and orthophotographic perspective of the strata (<a href="#Montalvo">Montalvo, Dyrdahl, Cantisani, Fabririis, &amp; Vinci, 2020</a>; <a href="#Orengo">Orengo, 2013</a>), allowing greater detail in the delimitation and shape of the excavated stratigraphic units and assemblages, either synchronously or diachronically.</p> <p>All this work of graphic evaluation allows for new possibilities in relation to the processes of data management of an archaeological intervention. Their implementation in a geographic information system (GIS), being the graphic base in a vectorised digital format, means the possibility of creating environments where interrelated information is available, of their virtual recreation, from the three-dimensional (3D) models obtained during the archaeological excavation. All this makes 3D models versatile products for use in archaeological heritage research and dissemination. From the latter approach, it is the geometric basis for the subsequent development of virtual surveys and 3D recreations or their reproduction in models at variable scales of the whole or a part of them in greater detail using 3D printers.</p> José Ángel González Ballesteros José Gabriel Gómez Carrasco Alicia Hernández-Robles Jorge Alejandro Eiroa Rodríguez Copyright (c) 2023 Virtual Archaeology Review 2023-04-12 2023-04-12 14 29 84 98 10.4995/var.2023.18956 Light signalling and navigation in the Strait of Gibraltar in the Roman Baetica: a panorama with more shadows than lights <p>The progress of archaeological research, as well as the improved means of analysis and data processing, is leading to a notable advance in the knowledge we have of such complex enclaves as Roman ports. In this sense, the progression in terms of the definition of urban planning, the greater knowledge in the identification of the so-called "contact structures" such as docks or wharves, the progress of underwater archaeology to locate wrecks and known anchorage areas, as well as the rest of the evidence linked to port infrastructures, allows researchers to articulate a more specific discourse about how the port functioned in the Ancient period. Nevertheless, these areas, defined by combining productive, administrative, commercial, fiscal and service environments, still remain one of the least known of Roman culture. Thus, classical sources, numismatics or pictorial, musivarian or sculptural representations are the main references for the theoretical composition of these spaces. This circumstance is mainly due to two causes: the lack of evidence caused by water –related erosive action on the structures, and the ephemeral nature of wood or other perishable elements when making some constructions.</p> <p>Among the infrastructures that define a port, such as jetties, administrative buildings or <em>stationes, cetariae, horrea</em>, etc., the <em>pharus</em> stands out: a monumental element whose main functions were to signal the entrance to the port and to articulate the arrival and departure of ships; the <em>pharus</em> normally had complementary systems of lights, sound signals or other visual elements such as flags. Although they are large constructions, they are built without complexity, according to the references in the sources and representations; they have a simple architecture: a wide base upon which a series of bodies are arranged and which are topped by a bonfire or <em>luminaria</em>. Their importance, beyond the functional aspect, is reflected in the multiple representations of these elements, at times becoming the hallmark of the port in question or of the city itself, appearing on its coins.</p> <p>The Baetic coast, as one of the main industrial and trading territories of the High Imperial period, has a large number of important ports, most of which are located on both sides of the Strait of Gibraltar. These include <em>Onoba</em> as a port of departure for the <em>metalla</em> of the southwest, <em>Gades</em> and its hegemonic role in the south of the peninsula, enclaves with a large productive volume and/or determining factors in the North African connections, such as <em>Baelo Claudia, Iulia Traducta, Carteia, Suel</em> and <em>Malaca</em>, etc. Despite their importance and the definition of several of these cases as annonary ports, archaeology has only been able to confirm the existence of structures linked to a lighthouse structure in the city of <em>Onoba</em>; about the rest, there are only hypotheses about their existence and possible location.</p> <p>On this basis, this work has analysed the Baetic port network configuration on both sides of the Strait of Gibraltar. To this end, a geographic information system (GIS) has been designed; the evidence and hypotheses on the lighthouse structures that were distributed between the ports of the current provinces of Huelva, Cadiz and Malaga have been included. With this information, calculations of visibility basins (viewshed) have been carried out based on estimated heights according to the reference bibliography. Since the result showed large "gaps" in the coastline, the port and productive infrastructures of the rest of the urban enclaves in this context were studied; the objective was to establish the possible locations of lighthouses by combining them with the geomorphological and palaeotopographical data plus information on the usual locations. Even with the addition of these new data, this process has revealed a panorama in which, apparently and taking into account the current state of research, the lighthouse as a monumental construction is not likely to have been a frequent infrastructure in the Baetic port landscapes. This information, similar to that identified in other ports such as <em>Carthago Nova</em> and supported by some data referred to in classical sources, has made it possible to propose a hierarchical configuration of this territory ports; by indicating only some of them as points where the official or annonary routes converged and those destined for redistribution at regional or local level, a series of first-level enclaves are defined as annonary ports, relegating the rest of the commercial nodes to a secondary or less relevant category, regardless of their urban nature.</p> Francisco Marfil Copyright (c) 2023 Virtual Archaeology Review 2023-07-28 2023-07-28 14 29 99 117 10.4995/var.2023.19620 Reflections of the practice of digital archaeology: virtual cultural heritage construction and communication <p>This paper develops reflections on how new digital technologies are evolving and being used as methodological tools in archaeological research. The registration and representation of archaeological materials and sites depend increasingly on these technologies to obtain the best information for knowledge, conservation and value-recognition purposes. In this context, virtual archaeology has provided a professional environment where interdisciplinary professionals converge to apply these tools for research.</p> <p>According to the definition of the Seville Principles, virtual archaeology aims to investigate and develop forms of application of technology-assisted visualization for the integral management of archaeological heritage. This discipline is still under construction due to a conjunction of approaches, objectives and limitations (<a href="#IzetayCattáneo2018">Izeta &amp; Cattáneo, 2018</a>).</p> <p>These technologies include image-creation procedures. They construct a new product which is called virtual heritage. The generated image is understood as a representation, that is, as a product with two articulated dimensions. On the one hand, all virtual representations have the peculiar status of being in the place of something else (an object, a person, a concept); thus, all these representations are the presence of an absence of something. On the other hand, all representations show something: they exhibit their own presence or materiality as an image. This perspective allows us to notice each image's phenomenon or existing condition, insofar as it emphasizes that all representations are materialized thanks to digital solutions. In this sense, it is essential to know that these new laboratory-created images, both make their absent referents (objects in most cases) present, and constitute a new digital/virtual cultural phenomenon (<a href="#Chartier1992">Chartier, 1992</a>). The authors consider that these new images are regarded as a new plausible record to be studied, preserved and communicated.</p> <p>This work is therefore an interdisciplinary space to think about the contribution of digital methods and techniques in the practice of the authors’ discipline; the documentation, analysis and virtual reconstruction of archaeological material, as well as the integral management of cultural heritage gain efficiency thanks to digital technologies. They also establish a space for reflection on their influence upon archaeological practice, in need of criteria to apply these technologies. The resulting product that can be used for science communication purposes.</p> <p>This proposal is based on the three goals of the ArqueoLab-UBA Project: cultural heritage research, conservation and communication. From the conservation point of view, the digitization and virtualization of archaeological materials protects non-renewable and fragile resources. Its importance lies in the quality of the information it provides, as by documenting and assisting in objects investigation and preservation, it can be used both to detect, measure and research deterioration over time and to predict patterns. Similarly, it also allows users to document restoration processes (<a href="#AcevedoStaropoliyotros2020">Acevedo, Staropoli, Riera Soto, Soto, Herrera &amp; Rossi, 2020</a>; <a href="#JaidarBenavidesetal2017">Jáidar Benavides, López Armenda, Rodríguez Vidal, Villaseñor &amp; Fragoso Calderas, 2017).</a></p> <p>Thereby, when applying these technologies, the aim is to generate an appropriate product which can be made known to different publics, on the one hand; on the other hand, it also focuses on sharing and communicating information in the academic-scientific field through open-access databases and digital repositories. Communication also makes it possible to turn the archaeological object into a virtual heritage product; its materialization in a new digital format includes all intelligible information linked, appropriated and transmissible to the non-academic community. These steps can be understood as a process of user needs identification and satisfaction; the resulting advantages are that archaeological heritage is publicized and valued, while facilitating access to cultural proposals (<a href="#Acevedoetal2020">Acevedo <em>et al</em>. 2020</a>; <a href="#AcevedoStaropoliAvidoyVitores2021">Acevedo, Staropoli, Ávido &amp; Vitores, 2021</a><a href="#bookmark=id.3dy6vkm">).</a> Investigating, conserving and communicating cultural heritage are much more than tools for preserving information: they are means to guarantee a comprehensive and multidisciplinary approach to cultural heritage.</p> Laura Staropoli Verónica Judith Acevedo Daniela Noemí Ávido Marcelo Vitores Copyright (c) 2023 Virtual Archaeology Review 2023-07-18 2023-07-18 14 29 118 135 10.4995/var.2023.19292 Historical-material and virtual reconstruction for the conservation of the San Juan Bautista Renaissance Altarpiece (Antequera, Spain) <p>The City of Antequera Service of Movable Property Restoration carries out an action program that includes the Project of the Altarpiece of San Juan Bautista Conservation-Restoration in the San Zoilo Church (Antequera, Andalusia-Spain). This project focuses on the conservation, assembly and recovery of the altarpiece in its origin place (side wall of the Comulgatorio chapel). The authors have participated in research about the historical-material and virtual reconstruction of the altarpiece and have contributed to its recovery and enhancement.</p> <p>The San Juan Bautista altarpiece was made around the end of the 16<sup>th</sup> century, in gilded and polychrome wood. Its architectural box structure is decorated with 18 paintings on a panel and an exempt sculpture. Its Renaissance style shows carved and polychrome decorations based on fauna and fantastic figures, medallions, foliage, and cherubs. It stands out for being one of the few Renaissance examples that are preserved in the city of Antequera, against the primacy of the Baroque and Pseudoclassicist style altarpieces. The paintings on the panel are masterfully executed and narrate episodes of the life of the Virgin plus the life and passion of Christ; it also represents saints related to the Franciscan order that founded the old convent (San Francisco and Santa Clara). The central sculpture depicts St. John the Baptist (c. 1550). Currently, it is exhibited in the city's museum. The sculpture has been repolychromed several times, showing a stylistic discordance with respect to the decoration and tables that adorn the altarpiece. The construction system of the altarpiece is classified as mixed. The structure has a self-supporting system. The architectural elements make up the box. It is assembled from the bottom up. It is dismantled in the opposite direction and incorporates some elements that anchor it to the wall. It measures about 5.25 m x 3.77 m (height x width). It consists of five streets in a vertical direction, where the central one protrudes slightly in height with respect to the adjoining sides. Horizontally, the space is distributed in sotobanco, bench or predella, first body, second body and attic.</p> <p>When the research first started, the altarpiece was fragmented, dispersed, and decontextualized from its original environment due to various vicissitudes. The different fragments into which it was divided during its dismantling had divergent destinations in terms of their material history. Most of them were stored at the town hall. Also, the paintings on panel and sculpture of the first body, after a deep restoration, were exhibited in the Municipal Museum of the city of Antequera.</p> <p>The objectives of this article are: first, to expose the methodology and results obtained after the technical study of the different fragments that make up the altarpiece; second, to reconstruct its history-material to elucidate the circumstances by which it was dismantled and decontextualized from its surroundings; finally, to reconstruct graphically and virtually the altarpiece from the existing fragments to highlight the losses of some of them; in so doing, the authors tried to demonstrate the viability of the final assembly process of the altarpiece in its original environment. Through documentary (bibliographic and graphic) and virtual (photogrammetry, orthophotography, and 3D) techniques, answers to the following questions were sought: <em>Why is the altarpiece </em><em>dismantled? When is it produced? When are the original pieces that are missing lost or stolen?</em> <em>Are </em><em>all pieces preserved?</em> <em>How many fragments </em><em>were divided during the physical disassembly process? Is the state of conservation of the existing fragments homogeneous? </em>The conclusions obtained indicate that the physical dismantling took place between 1973 and 1983, due to the continuous deterioration of the building; the altarpiece itself became more evident in the linear support and tow of the predella boards. It was divided into forty fragments, which are still preserved. The plundering of original parts (two predella boards, first and central) is confirmed as prior to 1899. Finally, it should be noted that the current image of the altarpiece shows a visual dissonance that will hinder its conservation-restoration intervention.</p> Beatriz Prado-Campos Antonio-J. Sánchez-Fernández Copyright (c) 2023 Virtual Archaeology Review 2023-07-28 2023-07-28 14 29 136 151 10.4995/var.2023.19414