Mattanza Tuna Fishing Vessels of Portopalo, Sicily: Photogrammetry and 3D Modeling
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Tuna fishing has been a staple in the Sicilian economy from ancient times into the 20th century. Southern Sicily especially benefitted from the prosperity of the industry and built infrastructure known as tonnare for tuna processing and special mattanza vessels to exploit the fish during the warm summer months. Sicilians possessed a unique fishing method because of these boats, which contain distinctive construction features that aid specifically in the capture of tuna. Since the tuna-fishing economy of Sicily has largely diminished, many of the now derelict boats have fallen into disrepair. It is the goal of this thesis to record and study these cultural heritage objects to preserve their information for members of the southern Sicilian community and for the research of future scholars. In June of 2019, three of these mattanza boats were digitally recorded using photogrammetry, laser scanning, and a combined method of photogrammetry and laser scanning, known as photogrammetric texture mapping (PTM), which produced 3D models. These digital recording methods are beneficial in a number of ways, including a user-friendly platform for manipulation, great accuracy of details for measurements and analysis, and ease of data sharing and dissemination. One of the achieved goals of this project was to use the 3D PTM models to produce sections and hull lines, as well as an orthophotograph. This research project serves not only as an evaluation of 3D modeling for cultural heritage documentation, but also as the preliminary data for the planned conservation of these vessels. Digital preservation of the tuna fishing mattanza vessels will inform the social and economic history of southern Sicily.
Zak, Claire E (2021). Mattanza Tuna Fishing Vessels of Portopalo, Sicily: Photogrammetry and 3D Modeling. Master's thesis, Texas A&M University. Available electronically from