Cologne Fragments

Digital Reconstruction of the Cologne Fragments


Since the collapse on 3 March 2009, the Historical Archive of the City of Cologne has been faced with the challenge of cleaning and restoring millions of recovered fragments as well as restoring the original context of the archival material. The quantity and the degree of damage of the fragments in Cologne as well as the lack of restrictive search criteria do not allow a purely manual reconstruction of the parts.
As part of a research and development project for the "Digital Reconstruction of the Cologne Fragments" (DRCF), a prototypical assistance system for reconstruction was implemented and tested and the feasibility of a digital reconstruction of archived goods successfully demonstrated.
Based on the DRCF-project’s prototypical assistance system for reconstruction, the development of a functional full-scale reconstruction assistance system will be implemented in the current project and put into operation at the Historical Archives of the City of Cologne.

German television report on the Cologne project:

In addition to the software for digital reconstruction, the DRCF project also features a newly designed soft particle blasting workstation to support the dry cleaning of the Cologne fragments. A digitizing unit for single sheet manuscripts and fragments of paper that is unique in the world has been designed and built on behalf of the Historical Archives. The soft particle blasting workstation and the digitization unit are already in use at the Restoration and Digitization Center in Cologne-Porz. A test run of the prototypical reconstruction software with original fragments at the MusterFabrik Berlin has also been successful.

Details on the Soft Particle Blasting Workstation

Details on the Digitizing Unit

Project Partners


About us