A PHOTOGRAMMETRIC WORKFLOW FOR RAPID SITE DOCUMENTATION AT STOBI, REPUBLIC OF NORTH MACEDONIA
The so-called “Theodosian Palace” is one of the most significant Late Antique structures at the site of Stobi, in the Republic of North Macedonia. Popularly thought to be a stopping-place of Theodosius I on his way through the province of Macedonia Secunda according to the evidence of the Codex Theodosianus, the structure is in dire need of conservation with many of the stone and mortar walls threatening to collapse onto the mosaic floors below. Any conservation effort in the Republic of North Macedonia must produce rigorous documentation before any physical work can take place. The most important and time consuming component of the project preparation are section and elevation drawings documenting each of the walls stone-by-stone, with elevations and scales indicated in a format prescribed by the state. These drawings are usually done manually on graph paper in the field, with the assistance of time-honoured manual tools – the plum-bob and tape-measure –, but this method is enormously time consuming and has considerable of room for error. The present project, begun in 2016 and the subject of this paper, endeavoured to show that new, photogrammetric methods could not only improve the accuracy of these drawings, but also the speed with which they are made. Our results demonstrate an increase in accuracy by an order magnitude, from 3 cm to 3 mm, and an improvement in the time to deliver the final product from an estimated 8 months to 2 months.