using advanced 3D digitisation technologies for preserving our cultural heritage

Hybrid Conference

June 19 2024, Birgu Malta


8:30 – 9:00

Registration & coffee

9:00 – 9:40 Morning Session 1

Mapping the Future: 3D Digitization of European Cultural Heritage

“Mapping the Future: 3D Digitization of European Cultural Heritage” is an introductory conference session dedicated to exploring the transformative potential of 3D digitization in preserving and promoting Europe’s cultural heritage. This session will delve into the digitisation of cultural data into the European data cloud, enhancing accessibility and interoperability across the continent. Expert speakers will present this digitization vision, showcasing the various efforts in cultural heritage preservation through advanced digital strategies. Additionally, the session will examine the vital link between tourism and cultural heritage sustainability, demonstrating how digital preservation can drive tourism while ensuring the longevity and authenticity of cultural sites for future generations.

Keith Demicoli  Welcome & housekeeping

Tony Cassar (HM)

Valentine Charles (TwinIT)

Carlo Micallef (MTA)

9:40 – 10:40 Morning Session 2

Advancements in 3D Digitization: Methodologies, Standards, Collection Management, and Accessibility

“The second session of the conference, “Advancements in 3D Digitization: Methodologies, Standards, Collection Management, and Accessibility,” will delve into the latest technological advancements and best practices in 3D digitization. Esteemed speakers will discuss innovative methodologies and emerging standards that are shaping the field. The session will cover effective strategies for collection management, ensuring the digital preservation of cultural artifacts. Additionally, it will highlight the importance of accessibility, demonstrating how 3D digitization can democratize access to cultural heritage, making it available to diverse audiences worldwide. This session aims to equip attendees with the knowledge to implement cutting-edge digitization techniques in their own projects.”

Jacob Saliba (HM)  Aquisition and Reuse

Dr Andrew Pace  (HM)  CMS, Metadata and Paradata

Davide Tanasi (US)    Digitisation Standards in the US


10:40 – 11:40 Morning Session 3

Traditional Boat Digitization: Case Studies from Cyprus, Malta, and Norway

“The third session of the conference, “Traditional Boat Digitization: Case Studies from Cyprus, Malta, and Norway,” will present three insightful case studies showcasing the digitization of traditional boats. Experts from each country will share their experiences and methodologies in preserving these maritime heritage artifacts using 3D technologies. The session will highlight the unique cultural significance of traditional boats in Cyprus, Malta, and Norway, and the challenges faced during their digitization. Attendees will gain valuable insights into best practices, collaborative efforts, and the impact of digital preservation on cultural heritage and local communities in these regions.”

Dr Marinos Ioannides    Cyprus Case Study 1

Francesco Vella (HM)     Malta  Case Study 2

Massimiliano  Ditta    Norway Case Study 3


11:40 – 14:00


14:00- 15:00 Afternoon Session 1

Exploring the Challenges and Methods in Digitizing Underwater Cultural Heritage

“The conference session “Exploring the Challenges and Methods in Digitizing Underwater Cultural Heritage in Malta and Norway” will delve into the unique obstacles and innovative techniques involved in preserving submerged cultural artifacts. Experts will discuss the complexities of underwater digitization, including environmental challenges and technological limitations. The session will showcase pioneering projects from Malta and Norway, demonstrating how advanced 3D imaging and scanning technologies are used to document and preserve underwater heritage sites. Attendees will learn about the interdisciplinary approaches and collaborative efforts required to overcome these challenges, ensuring the protection and accessibility of invaluable underwater cultural heritage for future generations.”

Maja Pace Sausmekat (UCHU)

John Wood (University of Malta)

Rebecca Xerri  (Heritage Malta/University of Malta)

Thomas Bjørkeland (Stavanger Maritime Museum)


15:00 – 15:45 Afternoon Session 2

Horizon-Europe Projects: Advancing 3D Digitization in Cultural Heritage Preservation

“This conference section will highlight several ongoing Horizon projects focused on the 3D digitization of cultural heritage and the innovative reuse of these assets. Keynote speakers from each project will present cutting-edge methodologies and technologies that exemplify state-of-the-art practices in Europe. These projects encompass a wide range of cultural heritage preservation efforts, from creating detailed 3D models of historical sites to developing virtual reality experiences and educational tools. Attendees will gain insights into how 3D digitization is transforming cultural heritage preservation, making it more accessible, engaging, and sustainable, while fostering creativity and innovation across various sectors.”

Charalampos Georgiadis ENIGMA 

Saida Ibragic STECCI

Aphrodite T. Andreou IMPULSE

15:45 – 16:15

Coffee Break

16:15 – 17:15 Afternoon Session 3

Revitalizing Maritime Museums: Connecting with Modern Audiences through Contemporary Themes

“The concluding session, “Revitalizing Maritime Museums: Connecting with Modern Audiences through Contemporary Themes,” will explore strategies for making maritime museums more engaging and relevant to today’s audiences. Experts will discuss how incorporating contemporary themes, interactive exhibits, and digital technologies can enhance visitor experiences and attract diverse audiences. The session will highlight successful case studies and innovative approaches in museum curation, emphasizing the importance of storytelling and community engagement. Attendees will learn how to balance the preservation of maritime heritage with modern trends, ensuring that maritime museums remain vibrant, educational, and appealing to future generations.”

Keith Gatt (MMM)

Heidi Thöni Sletten (Oslo Museum)

Q&A and Concluding remarks

Meet Our Speakers

Head of Technology and Experience Development unit

Charalampos Georgiadis

Associate Professor in Photogrammetry

Jacob Saliba

Saida Ibragic

Francesco Vella

Maja Pace Sausmekat

Andrew Pace

Rebecca Xerri

Valentine Charles

Marinos Ioannides

Davide Tanasi

Heidi Thöni Sletten

Thomas Bjørkeland

Massimiliano Ditta

Aphrodite Theodora Andreou

Keith Gatt

Human activity has irrevocably impacted our oceans, posing significant threats to both marine ecosystems and cultural heritage. The conference “Clean Oceans and Mapping our Seas” seeks to address these pressing issues by bringing together experts, stakeholders, and enthusiasts to explore innovative digital solutions and strategies that can be used to aid the documentation and interpretation of these issues on cultural heritage.

Understanding the Challenges

Overexploitation of marine resources, pollution from various sources, and the effects of climate change have all taken a toll on our seas. These activities not only endanger marine life but also jeopardize our cultural heritage, including ancient shipwrecks, submerged artifacts, and coastal monuments.

Conference Objectives

The conference aims to:

1. Raise awareness about the interconnection between clean oceans and the preservation of maritime cultural heritage.

2. Showcase advancements in digitization technologies for documenting underwater cultural heritage.

3. Foster collaboration and knowledge exchange among stakeholders, including museums, research institutions, and government agencies.

Organizational Collaboration:

“Clean Oceans and Mapping our Seas” is jointly organized by Heritage Malta and the Norwegian Museum Stavanger (MUST). Both organizations have been at the forefront of utilizing cutting-edge technology to digitize and record maritime cultural heritage. This collaboration emphasizes the shared commitment to addressing the challenges faced by our oceans and cultural heritage.

Key Themes: 

The central theme of the conference revolves around the intersection of clean oceans and maritime cultural heritage. The discussion will primarily center on innovative 3D digitization methods and approaches for documenting and interpreting the impacts of climate change and ocean quality on maritime cultural heritage.

Digitization and Standardization: 

Another core focus of the conference will be on digitization efforts and the importance of standardized methodologies. With emerging technologies such as 3D scanning and visualization, there is a need for comprehensive standards to ensure data interoperability and accessibility. The conference will facilitate discussions on synchronizing efforts with existing European projects and centralizing data aggregation platforms.

“Clean Oceans and Mapping our Seas” offers a unique opportunity to address the multifaceted challenges facing our oceans and cultural heritage.

By fostering collaboration and innovation, we can pave the way towards a sustainable future where both marine ecosystems and cultural treasures thrive. The conference “Clean Oceans and Mapping our Seas Conference” is being organised by Heritage Malta (Malta) and Stavanger Maritime Museum – MUST (Norway)

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Tony Cassar

Head of Technology and Experience Development unit

Tony Cassar is the head of the Technology and Experience Development Unit at Heritage Malta, overseeing the preservation and digitization of over 90 national cultural heritage sites, including numerous UNESCO sites. With over 25 years of experience in IT and multimedia, Tony champions digital transformation initiatives to make Malta’s cultural heritage accessible and engaging worldwide. He is an advocate for high standards in digitization, especially in 3D digitization, and promotes the reuse of 3D digital assets in various outreach efforts, ensuring that Malta’s rich heritage is preserved and appreciated across borders and generations.

Charalampos Georgiadis

Associate Professor in Photogrammetry

Associate Professor in Photogrammetry, Remote Sensing and GIS at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki – School of Rural and Surveying Engineering. He received his diploma in Rural and Surveying engineering from the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki in 1997, his MSc in Protection, Preservation and Restoration of Cultural monuments from the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki in 2000, and his Ph.D in Photogrammetry from the Department of Spatial Information Science and Engineering, University of Maine, USA in 2005.

He has authored more than 70 scientific research articles in international journals and conference proceedings and has participated in more than 50 research projects. His background and research lines are mainly close-range photogrammetry, laser scanning, remote sensing, and GIS. His research interests include among others: Image processing & analysis, remote sensing, close range and UAV photogrammetry, 3D laser scanning, 3D modelling, 3D point cloud fusion from different sensors, GIS, and cartography.

He is currently the coordinator of the EU funded ENIGMA project (

John Wood

John Wood is a University of Malta graduate, and has worked in the Information Technology field for almost 40 years. He has been an avid diver for the last 20 years and a technical rebreather diver since 2015. He joined the University of Malta Maritime Archeological diving team in 2017, focusing primarily on developing skills and techniques in underwater 3D photogrammetry for public outreach purposes as well as for technical documentation of sites and excavations.

Jacob Saliba

Jacob Saliba holds a Bachelors in Fine Arts (2020) and a Masters in Fine Arts (2022) in Digital Arts from the University of Malta. He is a Multimedia Artist at Heritage Malta’s Digitisation Unit and a part-time lecturer in the Digital Arts Department at the University of Malta. Jacob’s work focuses on audience-centered experiences, the convergence of physical and digital spaces, and interactivity.At Heritage Malta, he is responsible for creating digital content for museum experiences such as the Dockyard 4D experiences (2024), and the digitisation of cultural heritage for the national collection  both locally and internationally.

Saida Ibrgaic

Project manager of the Horizon Europe

Dr. Saida Ibragic, a graduate of the Faculty of Pharmacy, holds a chemistry degree and works as an associate professor at the University of Sarajevo – Faculty of Science. As an external associate, she teaches at several other faculties and leads multidisciplinary research spanning biomedicine, analytical and phytochemistry, and cultural heritage. She is the project manager of the Horizon Europe project Stone monument ensembles and the climate change impact.

Francesco Vella

Francesco Vella is a seasoned Multi Media Artist, currently serving in the Digitisation Unit. He holds both a Bachelor of Fine Arts (2020) and a Master of Fine Arts (2022) in Digital Arts. Francesco’s expertise encompasses advanced methodologies in 3D digitisation, including photogrammetry and LiDAR scanning. Additionally, he is a skilled professional in 3D modelling. His profound knowledge and innovative techniques contribute significantly to the field of digital art and preservation.

Maja Pace Sausmekat

Maja Pace Sausmekat is an archaeologist and a graduate from the University of Malta, having recently obtained a Masters in Archaeological Practice. Maja recently joined Heritage Malta’s Underwater Cultural Heritage Unit, combining a passion for research with everything underwater.

Andrew Pace

Andrew Pace is responsible for implementing the collections management system across Heritage Malta’s sites and museums and developing the upcoming public access catalogue portal. Andrew’s work with the Digitisation Unit explores methods to effectively migrate catalogue data from Heritage Malta’s historic repositories to a consistent digital form, including working with the multimedia team to capture metadata and paradata relating to collection objects and sites scanned in 3D.

Rebecca Xerri

Maritime Archaeologist

Rebecca Xerri – Ms Rebecca Xerri is an archaeologist with a passion for making underwater cultural heritage more accessible. She is currently a museum educator at Heritage Malta and doctoral candidate at the University of Malta. In the latter capacity, Rebecca is conducting research into the management and communication of deepwater cultural heritage, with a specific focus on the Xlendi Underwater Archaeological Park.

Valentina Charles

Valentine Charles has worked with Europeana since 2009 covering the field of data aggregation and quality. She supported the development and adoption of the Europeana Data Model (EDM) before coordinating the development of Metis, the data aggregation and publication infrastructure used at Europeana. She now serves as Data Services Director

Marinos Ioannides

Dr. Marinos Ioannides is since the 1st of January 2013 the director of the Digital Heritage Research lab at the Cyprus University of Technology in Limassol. He received his MSc in CS from the University of Stuttgart, Germany in safety and security of Multitasking, -user Repository-systems. He continued at the same University for his PhD (Dr.-Ing) on the development of a 3D reconstruction engine of digitized objects, where he participated in several EU and national DFG research projects. He was involved as PI in several European projects in digital cultural heritage and his pioneering work he has been awarded a range of awards as the IBM award (1993), the EU KIT award (1994), the Spanish Tartessos prize (2010) and in 2018 the UNESCO Chair and the EU Chair on DCH with 2.5 MEuro financial support. In 2020 he has been nominated as a corresponding member of the German Archaeological Institute.

He was also the coordinator of the FP7 MSCA ITN-DCH project, the H2020 ViMM Virtual Multimodal Museum project, the coordinator of the EU Study VIGIE2020/654 on Quality in 3D digitisation of tangible cultural heritage and of the ERASMUS+ GLAMers project.

Davide Tanasi

Davide Tanasi is professor of Digital Humanities in the Department of History at the University of South Florida, where he is also founder and director of the College of Arts and Sciences’ Institute for Digital Exploration (IDEx). He is an archaeological scientist specialized in archaeology of ancient Sicily and Malta, with specialized research interest in 3D digital imaging applied to archaeology and cultural heritage study. In this field, he has authored over 170 articles and several books and special issues of journals.

Heidi Thöni Sletten

Heidi Thöni Sletten (b. 1979) has a MA in traditional arts. She is an educator at the Norwegian Maritime Museum. She has long experience from dissemination and education of maritime culture in museums and non-profit organisations. Sletten was part of the curatorial team for the exhibition “Explore the ocean”, with responsibility for content and the educational work.

Thomas Bjørkeland

Thomas is working at Stavanger maritime museum in Stavanger, Norway with underwater cultural heritage management. The work varies from case work, planning and executing fieldwork, and presenting the work and more specific projects when the possibility arises. Currently he is focusing on development within the field of field documentation using photogrammetry, as well as 3D-scanning of archaeological artefacts, and archaeological and traditional boats. When not at work Thomas enjoys freediving, underwater photography and running.

Massimiliano Ditta

Massimiliano Ditta is a Maritime archaeologist at the Stavanger Maritime Museum (Norway) since 2017 and is currently a PhD fellow at the University of Stavanger, Museum of Archaeology, with a research focus on shipbuilding technology in Western Norway during the early Viking Age. He has undertaken research projects and conducted underwater archaeological excavations for various Northern European maritime museums, including the German Maritime Museum in Bremerhaven, the Viking Ship Museum in Roskilde, and the Norwegian Maritime Museum in Oslo. His research interests and specialisations are boat- and shipbuilding technology, from prehistory to modern times, and digital documentation methods for nautical archaeology.

Aphrodite Theodora Andreou

Aphrodite Theodora Andreou works as a Coordinator (Cultural Assets) for Heritage Malta while also working for Mighty Boards. She is a visual artist from Athens, holds a Msc. in Digital Games from the Institute of Digital Games at the University of Malta, and a BA in Visual Arts from the Francis Rich School of Fine and Performing Arts at DEREE. Her research focuses on using game design as a medium of attempting to construct inter- species dialogues and collaborations while addressing problematic hierarchies through playfulness and care. She has designed playful artefacts for bottlenose dolphins and has experience both with board games and digital games. One of her main interests is the gamification of museums and the various ways that audiences interact with playful site-specific installations.

Keith Gatt

Keith Gatt is a curator with Heritage Malta at the Malta Maritime Museum, where he plays a key role in preserving and presenting Malta’s rich maritime history. He holds an M.A. from the University of Malta’s Faculty of Arts, Department of History. His expertise encompasses maritime history, museum curation, and historical research, with a particular focus on Malta’s strategic role during the Second World War.