3-Dimensional Measurements of Historical Islamic Tombstones in Bahrain

Research at the Bahrain National Museum

 The Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties has been cooperating with the excavation survey and maintenance of historical sites in the tombs of Bahrain for many years. When we visited the site in July 2022 and met Salman Al Mahari, Director of the Bahrain National Museum, he asked us to help protect the historical Islamic tombstones that remained in the mosques and cemeteries. Currently, approximately 150 historical Islamic tombstones remain in the country, but they are deteriorating due to salt damage and other factors.
 In response to this request, as the first step of new cooperative activities, 3D measurements were taken of tombstones in the Bahrain National Museum’ collection and Al-Khamis Mosque from February 11 to 16, 2023. Structure-from-Motion/Multi-View-Stereo (SfM-MVS), a technology that creates 3D models from photographs, was used for photogrammetry to complete measurements of 20 units in the Bahrain National Museum and 27 units in the Al-Khamis Mosque’s collections. Tombstones made of limestone are highly compatible with photogrammetry, and from the 3D models created, the inscriptions on the tombstones can be seen much more clearly than from photographs or with the naked eye. These models will be made publicly available on a platform that can be accessed widely both domestically and internationally and will be used as a database for tombstones in the future.
 In the following fiscal year and beyond, we plan to further expand the scope of our 3D measurement work to other cemeteries in Bahrain.

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