In 1937 and 1938, a group of high-relief and round statues were uncovered during the joint expedition of the American School of Oriental Research in Jerusalem and the Department of Antiquities in Palestine at the Khirbet et-Tannur Temple, located in Jordan. This expedition was headed by Nelson Glueck (Figs 1, 2). The statues uncovered are important in that they offer considerable information about Nabataean art and religion. This paper concentrates on one of the high-relief statues, called the Atargatis Panel by its excavator, Glueck. It was chosen as a case study for its availability in Amman, Jordan. The other Atargatis statues found at the site are now in the Cincinnati Art Museum in the United States of America. This paper also examines the Nabataean religious beliefs concerning Atargatis and her fertility cult, in addition to the art style of the statue. Furthermore, the digital 3D imaging documentation of the Atargatis statue at The Jordan Museum is presented. Dense image matching algorithms presented a flexible, cost-effective approach for this important work. These images not only provide geometric information but also show the surface textures of the depicted objects. This is especially important for the production of virtual 3D models used as a tool for documentary, educational and promotional purposes.
The round statue of enthroned Tyche was originally displayed in the middle of the front row of seats in the west theatre of Umm Qais. The statue of high quality is made of ivory coloured marble, while the theatre is constructed of black basalt stone. This contrast of colour and material made the statue stand out and intensified the beauty of the theatre. The statue has been moved by the Department of Antiquities of Jordan and displayed at Umm Qais Archaeological Museum, registered as number 13c. The Gadara Tyche appeared with one of the main symbols of the goddess, the cornucopia.
Highly realistic and geometric models of cultural heritage objects are attractive tools for documentation, preservation and promotion purposes. 3D imaging, using dense stereo matching techniques, is used for accurate and realistic modeling of the Tyche statue and the theatre of Umm Qais. Acquiring 3D surfaces with image matching solutions has many advantages related to the flexibility, cost effectiveness of, and need for short data collection time on the site without disturbance to the site’s visitors.