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Pompeii: Reconstructing frescoes with AI
Isabella V




The city of Pompeii, known for its exceptional state of preservation under volcanic ash, continues to amaze scholars.

In fact, in addition to the artifacts, fragments of artwork are often found that are extremely complex to catalogue or reconstruct.

Pompeii archaeologists can now make use of a new technology : an AI-powered robot called “ RePAIR.”

This innovative technology could transform the long and frustrating phase of physically reconstructing destroyed artworks.

The RePAIR project, launched in 2021 with support from the European Union, aims to assist archaeologists in reassembling fragmented artifacts.

The technology can analyze the many pieces of an ancient Roman vase and determine how they fit together.

The follow up, robotic arms provide the assembly.

A first goal of the project is the reconstruction of two Pompeian frescoes from about 2,000 years ago : one in the House of the Painters at Work in the Insula of the Casti Lovers and the other in the Schola Armaturarum.

Many artifacts found in Pompeii, including thousands of fragments of frescoes, remained preserved under volcanic ash, making them virtually impossible for humans to reassemble and therefore abandoned in a warehouse outside Pompeii for years.

If the project is successful, the RePAIR robot will be able to handle the entire process itself, from scanning to assembling the fragments.

It will also be able to provide intermediate results to allow archaeologists to monitor the work.

 Ohad Ben-Shahar, co-founder of RePAIR and a member of the Department of Computer Science at Ben-Gurion University, saidas we have always built machines to help us, from now on autonomous machines will be supported by people.

This technology opens up new perspectives for the museums and archaeological sites of the future.