Cartagena de Indias, one of the main Spanish commercial ports in the Caribbean Sea, was strategically built on a system of islands and peninsulas that formed a lacustrine system along the coast of Tierra Firme, known today as Colombia. For several centuries, Cartagena fortifications have been at the fore-front of Spanish military technologies. This site became the scene of action of the main military engineers at the service of the Spanish crown. In 1586 Battista Antonelli received from King Philipe II the task to design this monumental defensive system.
In the last 20 years the field of cultural heritage has experienced a revolution in terms of documentation methods. The latest technological advances in laser scanners and photogrammetry have opened the possibility of documenting in three dimensions all types of monuments and sites regardless of their size or complexity. In this revolution fortified spaces have not been an exception. Hundreds of research teams around the world have developed 3D digitization projects of castles and fortresses.
Modern technological advances have enabled digital automated methods to be applied for accurate and detailed documentation. Such techniques include image based modelling and terrestrial laser scanning. They can easily be adapted to perfectly suit the documentation needs for small and large objects. In this paper the digital geometric documentation of two medieval fortifications using such contemporary methods is briefly described.
Otranto is one of the biggest ancient settlements in the Salento (Puglia), in the easternmost part of the Italian peninsula. This location has always affected the city’s history, which has a stratified system of defence. As a result of the Turkish invasion of 1480, the city was completely destroyed.
The system of fortifications that rings the old town of the city of Otranto (Puglia, Italy) conserves the still visible traces of structures belonging to various historical periods, attesting to the evolution of the settlement’s defensive system from the Messapian period (fifth century BC) to the Aragonese period (sixteenth century). As part of a recent urban renewal project targeting the area of the moats, new archaeological, historic and architectural investigations were conducted.
The use of digital documentation and registration techniques in Cultural Heritage is becoming more common every day, thanks to its ability to capture a large amount of data in a fast and efficient process. Its high geometric precision, thoroughness, performance retrieved and especially the generation of high fidelity and precision of architectural good assets make these tools optimal for the planimetric surveys.
Post-coastal towers or rural fortress towers, built in the sixteenth century on the Mediterranean coast, had the mission of protecting the population and enhancing the repopulation of these areas, heavily punished by incursions by berber pirates. The Negro Tower or Arráez Tower, in El Algar-Cartagena (Region of Murcia, Spain), is one of those post-coastal lookout towers and was built in 1585. It is shaped like a truncated pyramid, square plan and a height of about 14,00 m. Originally, it had three floors and a terrace.