Solving archaeological puzzles

Niv Derech, Ayellet Tal, Ilan Shimshoni

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper focuses on the re-assembly of an archaeological artifact, given images of its fragments. This problem can be considered as a special challenging case of puzzle solving. The restricted case of re-assembly of a natural image from square pieces has been investigated extensively and was shown to be a difficult problem in its own right. Likewise, the case of matching “clean” 2D polygons/splines based solely on their geometric properties has been studied. But what if these ideal conditions do not hold? This is the problem addressed in the paper. Three unique characteristics of archaeological fragments make puzzle solving extremely difficult: (1) The fragments are of general shape; (2) They are abraded, especially at the boundaries (where the strongest cues for matching should exist); and (3) The domain of valid transformations between the pieces is continuous. The key contribution of this paper is a fully-automatic and general algorithm that addresses puzzle solving in this intriguing domain. We show that our approach manages to correctly reassemble dozens of broken artifacts and frescoes.

Original languageEnglish
Article number108065
JournalPattern Recognition
StatePublished - Nov 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Elsevier Ltd


  • Computer graphics
  • Computer vision
  • Re-assembly

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Signal Processing
  • Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition
  • Artificial Intelligence


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