Application of additive manufacturing to the digital restoration of archaeological artefacts

The application of digital technologies to relic conservation is a common research topic in the field of world cultural heritage. Both the inheritance of traditional techniques and the introduction of advanced technologies depend on the users and their awareness and understanding of cultural heritage. Manufacturing processes are the manifestations of culture and art, and there are always new methods appearing in the historical development. Digital technology is now one of these methods, which inherits cultural aspects, improves efficiency and raises quality. Every technology has advantages and limitations. What is important is developing the advantages and avoiding the weaknesses, integrative utilisation, and designing feasible and effective solutions. This paper explains process chains for optimised archiving, restoration, and replication of archaeological artefacts. It shows the exploration of overlapping areas between 3D digital technologies and traditional art, application examples of optimally combined forward and reverse engineering (RE), and developing prospects in the cultural creative industry. The outputs from the research should prove to be valuable to anyone working in the field of digital restoration, particularly when a physical replica is required. This applies in the archaeological domain but also in any field requiring artistic modelling of complex surfaces.