The ITN-DCH project is an Initial Training Network under the FP7 - People Marie Curie Actions Programme

Case Study IV Ilmendorf

In South Bavaria no late Hallstatt Period elite graves were known until 2009 (Claßen et al., 2010a). This picture changed when a rich women’s grave with extraordinary grave goods, such as 8 golden rings, 5 fibulae, 42 different embellished amber beads, 3 frit beads as well as different types of glass beads, has been discovered at a gravel quarry at Geisenfeld-Ilmendorf, a village in Upper Bavaria, 80 km north of Munich. At the rescue excavation, further bone jewellery, bronze rings, needles, pottery and further artefacts were excavated. Due to the excellent preservation conditions and the high amount of small objects, it was decided to recover the area of the skeleton’s waist in two 45x35 cm and 45x20 cm blocks for an excavation under laboratory conditions. One of these blocks is still kept in the restoration laboratories of the ITN-DCH Associate Partner Bavarian State Archaeological Collection (Archäologische Staatssammlung München). The first study performed on the object immediately after excavation by the Bayerisches Landesamt für Denkmalpflege was a x-ray tomography, that gave a first impression of the preserved anorganic parts. After preparation, that included the unearthing of organic materielas, the Full Partner ArcTron3D was asked for support in the final documentation. Since the Ilmendorf block is a remarkable object of great historical importance, it was decided to deliver it as a Case Study to the ITN-DCH Fellows.

The first goal of the case study was the high resolution 3D survey of all the in-situ-findings at their exact spot. Scalability was an issue while digitising the block. As a matter of fact, the details are as important as the picture of the entire block. Testing several precise techniques on details that have not been entirely uncovered turned out to be a challenge.

The material and visual appearance varied among the objects (e.g. amber and gold), making the digitisation even more challenging.

Structured light scanner and close range photogrammetry were applied in two ITN-DCH campaigns in April and June 2015 in order to acquire the 3D information. The whole data acquisition was documented using an acquisition protocol created during the ITN-DCH secondment at ArcTron. Starting with 3D models of each individual finding, a complete 3D registration of the block will be created in order to register the 3D information as well as the data generated in previous campaigns, such as tomography or microscopy documentation. This registration of all elements will allow different products for the interpretation of the grave, such as a GIS of all findings and their characteristic qualities properties.

The multidisciplinary team is working on the virtual reconstruction of some of the objects. The reconstruction of a belt discovered in one of the blocks is of special interest. It was situated above the pelvis of the deceased woman and was formed by thousands of bronze pieces within a complex structure.

The last challenge is the study of how data can be presented. Actually, there is a lot of different information of the uncovering and new 3D data will be added. The format in which the information could be presented to different publics is a good opportunity of training too.

For more information:,194

Claßen, E.; Wiedmann, S.; Herzig, F. (2010): Mit reichem Schmuck ins Jenseits - Ein hallstattzeitliches Grab in Ilmendorf, Das Archäologische Jahr in Bayern 2009, pp. 62–65.

Claßen, E. (2010):  Das Grab von Ilmendorf. Feines Geschmeide einer keltischen Dame. In: Gebhard, R. (ed.) Archäologische Staatssammlung München. Glanzstücke des Museums, Munich, pp. 164-165.

Tremmel, M. (2010): Händlerin, Priesterin, Fürstin? ; Ilmendorf ; das bisher reichste Frauengrab aus der späten Hallstattzeit Südbayerns gibt einige Rätsel auf, Bayerische Archäologie; 2010/3, pp. 14 – 16.