We have lost many invaluable historical artifacts recently due to the earthquakes in Nepal and also violence in Iraq. However, volunteers and experts in this area are trying to recreate these lost artifacts digitally with the help of ‘cyber archaeologists.’ To preserve engravings and important details, digital 3D models are being made by them. A few days after the footage of ISIS destroying artworks in the Mosul Museum in northern Iraq came out, this effort of recreating the artifacts began with a conversation between two young researchers. Chance Coughenour and Matthew Vincent, both PhD students from the Initial Training Network for Digital Cultural Heritage took this initiative.
According to a report in BBC, the researchers used a technique called photogrammetry, where software is used to change 2D photos into 3D images, along with photos from the public. Project Mosul is the goal of their research and is an effort to save the items destructed, in cyberspace.
People are invited by the website to submit historical photographs that they have clicked. The submitted photographs are sorted out and recreated in 3D by experts and volunteers.
As of now, over 700 photos have been received by the Project and 15 3D reconstructions have been made. Some of them include a complex painted tablet, a lion sculpture and a metal gate.
The lion sculpture was a part of the museum and was popular among visitors because the volunteers got 16 images to work with.
Mr. Vincent said “The more photographs you have, the more potential you have to create more 3D points and have a denser cloud.”
He said that the models do not have the same scientific value as the professional scans which are made from the actual objects, but the 3D models have the visualization value, i.e. being able to see what the artifact was like prior to destruction.
Looking Beyond Project Mosul
Mr. Vincent says that other efforts of digital preservation should be followed more proactively. If a digital record of an artifact is created, with 3D printing method, precious items could be recreated physically.
In this process, replicas of destroyed or lost artifacts as well as extremely fragile items which cannot be put on public display could be created.
Mr Vincent said “3D printing is really proving to be one of the most valuable assets for heritage that we have today. It’s a way to bring them back to life and have a tactile experience with them, even if we can’t guarantee that they’re exactly as the original would have been.”
He added that “Whether it is because of conflict or natural disaster, our heritage is such a delicate and valuable resource, the only way that we can really preserve it is to take the steps to make those digital surrogates, so that we can protect the physical reality of that heritage as well.”
These precious items could be brought back to life with ‘cyber archaeology.’
What do you think?
Do you think this process can help recreate lost artifacts? Do you have any images which you would like to share? We would like to hear your thoughts.
Image & Article Source – cnet.com