Digital Archive Makes 3D Record of Ancient Greek Wonder (video)



Laser scan data of the Peirene Fountain at Ancient Corinth in Greece. Image by CyArk

Ancient Corinth is among the first endangered monuments to be preserved online as part of a digital archive of world civilization.

Google Arts & Culture and non-profit company CyArk have worked together and created the world’s largest three-dimensional digital archive of significant monuments.

The project is called Open Heritage, providing access to the world’s largest 3D heritage collection for the first time.

The project offers a virtual reality tour of world history and civilization spanning 3,000 years.

For Greece, the digitization of Ancient Corinth is the first entry in the archive. A small sample can be seen here.

The city of Ancient Corinth was destroyed to a large extent by earthquakes in 365 BC and was rebuilt later. Another earthquake in 856 AD killed thousands of people. Until the 1800s, the ancient city was covered by new infrastructure; an 1858 earthquake destroyed the entire city and led to the start of archaeological excavations.

The digitization of the monument, which is believed to be under constant threat, preserves what remains of the Greek and Roman architecture of the region. Due to the ongoing activity of the excavations, certain archaeological sites are not open to the public at the moment, so digital imaging allows visitors to take a tour of the site, giving virtual access to this ancient architectural miracle for the first time.

Google provides digital access to the database of CyArk collected from around the world. The visitor can get in touch with the great works of world culture through the Open Heritage website or through the free iOS or Android app.

As a first step, the three-dimensional representation of more than 25 monuments from various parts of the world are available.

The imagery was accomplished using sophisticated digital archeology techniques, such as laser scanners and drones.

The whole idea began when Ben Cacyra watched on television the Taliban destroy 1,500-year-old Buddhist statues in Afghanistan’s Bamiyan region in 2001 and felt obligated to do something about it.