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L. (Loes) Opgenhaffen MA

Faculty of Humanities
Photographer: Anneke Dekker

Visiting address
  • Binnengasthuisstraat 9
Postal address
  • Postbus 1605
    1000 BP Amsterdam
Contact details
  • About

    Short bio

    I am PhD researcher at ACASA-Archaeology at the University of Amsterdam, where I explore the possibilities of 3D technology to enhance pottery analysis. The PhD project is part of the larger Tracing the Potter’s Wheel (TPW) project, a five year research project funded by the Dutch Research Council (NWO), directed by my supervisor dr. Jill Hilditch. I obtained both MA degree in Archaeology (2010) and BA degree in Archaeology and Prehistory (2005) at the University of Amsterdam. In 2012 I assisted dr. P.S. Lulof in the establishment of the 4D Research Lab of the University of Amsterdam, where I continued to work as research-assistant and 3D visualiser of architecture until late 2015. In 2011 I started my company LOPD that was specialised in (digital) archaeological illustration.

    Trained as an archaeologist specialised in both illustration and ancient architecture, and with a background in fine arts, I became increasingly interested in digital 3D visualisation. 3D visualisation techniques such as 3D modelling prove not only to be useful as a reconstruction technique, but also a valuable, integrated research tool of lost architecture. Other techniques, such as 3D scanning, which I initially deployed to scan architectural fragments and artefacts to recontextualise them in their original (architectural or archaeological) setting, is now employed in the PhD project to enhance pottery analaysis. Furthermore, I am fascinated by the history of visualisation techniques in archaeology and how digital visualisation techniques impact current archaeological practice.  

    PhD project Tradition in Transition. Visualising innovation and change in past potting and present archaeological practice

    In my PhD project I explore how both past and modern practices respond to the introduction of new technology, such as the uptake, use and transmission of the potter’s wheel in the Late Bronze Age Aegean, and the nature of the adoption, adaptation and deployment of modern (digital 3D) visualisation tools and applications in archaeological practice.

    The presence (or absence) of wheel use and subsequent diffusion through the Aegean will be analyzed by studying the incremental process of the manufacture of clay vessels (or chaîne opératoire). Forming techniques such as wheel-coiling and wheel-throwing left their traces in the topography of the pottery, but these are very hard to discern with the naked eye and archaeologists need to be trained in order to do so. High resolution 3D scanning and automation of manual, traditional detection methods can enhance and even automate the process of the identification of wheel traces. The resulting 3D models will form a 3D reference collection of wheel-forming traces, where specialists and lay audiences alike can compare their pottery with the 3D models. The online reference collection provides the option to download the models in order to interrogate the models locally with analytical software, as well as to form a physical training set to teach and learn how to recognize different forming traces, when physical reference set are absent. 

    It should be emphasized that the application of innovative 3D techniques is not performed in isolation, but is instead an integrated research method within the TPW project. As such, it are the archaeologists - experimental, analytical and digital alike - that do the interpretation based on all available data, in which digital tools and 3D models take an essential yet supportive role. It is this role of digital visualisation tools in archaeological knowledge production and its impact on archaeological practice that I'm particularly interested in. I'm developing an integrated approach of visualisation methods and archaeological (technology) theory that should provide a framework to analyse underlying processes and mechanisms that shape and change past and present practices.

    Supervisors: dr. Jill Hilditch en prof. Robin Boast


    Member Scientific Board 4D Research Lab

    Staff member and illustrator Satricum Research Project


    Omgaan met materiële bronnen 2 (Visualisation part; 1st year course)


    Archon Winter School Sharing Practices: Archaeological 3D Visualisation in the Netherlands

    20-22 February 2020, RCE Amersfoort and University of Amsterdam

    Organisers: L. Opgenhaffen, M. Revello Lami, dr. H. Mickleburgh

    The 2020 Archon Winter School Sharing Practices: Archaeological 3D Visualisation in the Netherlands aimed to move beyond traditional research boundaries, and seeks to establish a community of practice for young researchers in the Netherlands with a shared interest in 3D visualisation of (archaeological) heritage. Archaeologists from both academic and commercial settings contributed to the symposium by sharing their work in the form of oral presentations and/or interactive posters, showcased during the three-day event. All contributions promoted the development of an established set of standards, guidelines or methodology of the use and deployment of 3D technology in archaeological research.

    The proceedings will be published in the Open Archaeology Special Issue on Art, Creativity and Automation. Sharing 3D Visualization Practices in Archaeology.

    Loes and DAVID the 3D scanner (photo Anneke Dekker)
  • Publications



    • Lulof, P. S., & Opgenhaffen, L. (Accepted/In press). Connecting Foundations and Roofs: The Satricum Sacellum and the Sant’Omobono Sanctuary. In C. Potts (Ed.), Custom Made: The Connected World of Central Italic Architecture Cambridge University Press.
    • Opgenhaffen, L., Jeffra, C. D., & Hilditch, J. R. (Accepted/In press). Balancing data storage and user functionality: the 3D and archaeological data strategy of the Tracing the Potter’s Wheel Project’. In M. Hostettler, A. Buhlke, C. Drummer, L. Emmenegger, J. Reich, & C. Stäheli (Eds.), The 3 Dimensions of Digitalised Archaeology: State-of-the-art, Data Management and Current Challenges in Archaeological 3D-Documentation SpringerOpen.




    • Opgenhaffen, L., & Sepers, M. H. (2015). 3D modelling: Crossing traditional boundaries between different research areas. In D. Gonzalez-Aguilera, F. Remondino, J. Boehm, T. Kersten, & T. Fuse (Eds.), 3D-Arch 2015 – 3D Virtual Reconstruction and Visualization of Complex Architectures: 25–27 February 2015, Avila, Spain (pp. 411-414). (The International Archives of the Photogrammetry, Remote Sensing and Spatial Information Sciences; Vol. XL-5/W4). ISPRS. [details]


    • Lulof, P. S., Opgenhaffen, L., & Sepers, M. H. (2013). The Art of Reconstruction. Documenting the process of 3D modeling: some preliminary results. In A. C. Addison, G. Guidi, L. De Luca, & S. Pescarin (Eds.), Proceedings of the 2013 Digital Heritage International Congress (DigitalHeritage): federating the 19th Int'l VSMM, 10th Eurographics GCH, & 2nd UNESCO Memory of the World Conferences, plus special sessions from CAA, Arqueologica 2.0, Space2Place, ICOMOS, ICIP & CIPA, EU projects, et al.: 28 Oct-1 Nov, Marseille, France. - Volume 2 (pp. 333-337). Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. [details]


    • Opgenhaffen, L. (2011). Sirens on the roof. Identification of terracotta bird-women in Central Italy. In P. Lulof, & C. Rescigno (Eds.), Deliciae Fictiles IV: Architectural Terracottas in Ancient Italy: Images of Gods, Monsters and Heroes: proceedings of the international conference held in Rome (Museo Nazionale Etrusco di Villa Giulia, Royal Netherlands Institute) and Syracuse (Museo Archeologico Regionale Paolo Orsi), October 21-25, 2009 (pp. 50-61). Oxbow Books.


    • Lulof, P. S., & Opgenhaffen, L. (2016). Sirene o Arpie: Immagini di donne-ucello nella decorazione dei templi dell’Italia preromana. In C. Pepe, C. Rescigno, & F. Senatore (Eds.), Sirene: Atti del VI ciclo di conferenze 'Piano di Sorrento. Una storia di terra e di mare' Sezione Sirene 2013 (pp. 47-62). Scienze e lettere dal 1919. [details]


    • Opgenhaffen, L. (2014). Virtuele archeologie en het 4D Research Lab: resultaten en reflecties. TMA: tijdschrift voor mediterrane archeologie, 26(52), 15-20.


    • Opgenhaffen, L., Jeffra, C. D., & Hilditch, J. R. (2018). Power to the people: 3D archives for exploring ancient ceramic technology. Paper presented at Centre for Digital Heritage meeting 2018, Lund, Sweden.


    • Opgenhaffen, L. (2017). A 3D reference collection of wheel-fashioned pottery. Abstract from European Association of Archaeologists (EAA) 23rd Annual Meeting: , Maastricht, Netherlands.



    Media appearance

    • Hilditch, J., Waagen, J., Lanjouw, T., Opgenhaffen, L. & Huurdeman, H. (14-04-2022). NWO Open Science Webinar [Web]. 3DWorkSpace - an open science/integrated tool for 3D datasets.


    • Hilditch, J. (other), Opgenhaffen, L. (other) & Campolo-Jeffra, C. (participant) (3-10-2022 - 30-10-2022). Tracing the Potter's Wheel Archeohotspot (other).
    • Opgenhaffen, L. (chair), Revello Lami, M. (chair) & Dell'Unto, N. (chair) (10-11-2021). WEB3D 2021 CONFERENCE, Pisa. The Special Track “Online Legacies and Cultural Heritage” aims to bring to the fore a robust and holistic approach to the maintenance of research (…) (organising a conference, workshop, ...).
    • Opgenhaffen, L. (organiser) & Simons, M. (organiser) (20-2-2020). 3D printing for research and education, Amersfoort. What do a 16th century house from Amsterdam and a Minoan conical cupfrom the Bronze Age have in common? They can each be printed in 3D. Theyare (…) (organising a conference, workshop, ...).
    • Opgenhaffen, L. (organiser), Revello Lami, M. (organiser) & Mickleburgh, H. (organiser) (20-2-2020 - 22-2-2020). Archon Winter School Sharing Practices, Amersfoort. The 2020 Archon Winter School Sharing Practices: Archaeological 3D Visualisation in the Netherlands aims to move beyond traditional research (…) (organising a conference, workshop, ...).
    • Hilditch, J. (participant), Jeffra, C. (participant) & Opgenhaffen, L. (participant) (2020). European Association of Archaeologists 26th Annual Meeting (Virtual). Creating an open-access digital repository of archaeological and experimental ceramics: the Tracing the Potter's Wheel approach (participating in a conference, workshop, ...).
    • Opgenhaffen, L. (participant), Jeffra, C. (participant) & Hilditch, J. (participant) (2020). European Association of Archaeologists 26th Annual Meeting (Virtual). Balancing data storage and user functionality: The 3D and archaeological data strategy of the Tracing the Potter's Wheel project (participating in a conference, workshop, ...).
    • Hilditch, J. (organiser), Jeffra, C. (organiser) & Opgenhaffen, L. (organiser) (2-10-2019 - 6-10-2019). Tracing the Conical Cup Exhibition, Athens (organising a conference, workshop, ...).
    • Hilditch, J. (organiser), Jeffra, C. (organiser) & Opgenhaffen, L. (organiser) (18-9-2019 - 29-9-2019). Tracing the Conical Cup Exhibition, Heraklion (organising a conference, workshop, ...).
    • Gnade, M. (participant), Revello Lami, M. (organiser) & Opgenhaffen, L. (organiser) (25-10-2017 - 28-10-2017). Tracing Technology., Rome. International Conference (organising a conference, workshop, ...).
    • Hilditch, J. R. (participant), Jeffra, C. D. (participant) & Opgenhaffen, L. (participant) (31-8-2017). European Association of Archaeologists (EAA) 23rd Annual Meeting:, Maastricht. Tracing the potter’s wheel - 3D techniques for visualising, analysing and interpreting technological innovation in the Bronze Age AegeanAdvances in (…) (participating in a conference, workshop, ...).
    • Hilditch, J. (participant), Jeffra, C. D. (participant) & Opgenhaffen, L. (participant) (1-9-2016 - 31-8-2021). Tracing the Potter's Wheel (other).


    • Hilditch, J., Campolo-Jeffra, C. & Opgenhaffen, L. (2021). Tracing the Potter's Wheel - Experimental Reference Collection. Universiteit van Amsterdam.
    This list of publications is extracted from the UvA-Current Research Information System. Questions? Ask the library or the Pure staff of your faculty / institute. Log in to Pure to edit your publications. Log in to Personal Page Publication Selection tool to manage the visibility of your publications on this list.
  • Ancillary activities
    • Saxion Hogeschool