Middle East heritage sites to be documented with 3D imaging

Share this on social media:

An effort to document heritage sites at risk from destruction in the Middle East using 3D imaging is underway. Led by the Institute for Digital Archaeology (IDA), a joint venture between Harvard and Oxford universities, the Million Image Database project aims to capture one million 3D images of at-risk objects by the end of 2016.

The IDA will deploy 5,000 low-cost 3D cameras to museum affiliates, military personnel, NGO employees and volunteers in conflict zones throughout the Middle East. The camera is a modified version of a consumer 3D camera, designed to capture archive-quality scans.

‘Digital archaeology, in my view, is the best hope that we have for preserving the architecture, the art history, of these sites,’ Roger Michel, executive director of the IDA, told the BBC in an interview.

The data will provide an archive for scholars and a record of such sites. In August, Syrian officials were reporting that Islamic State militants had destroyed the ancient Temple of Baalshamin in Palmyra, a Unesco World Heritage site built nearly 2,000 years ago.

Michel, speaking to the BBC, said that there were thousands of sites throughout the Middle East which haven’t been thoroughly documented. The 3D technology will show the object topography in such a way as to enable archaeologists to replicate these objects if they wanted to, which isn’t possible with 2D photographs.

Further information:

Institute for Digital Archaeology

Recent News

12 February 2021

Video recorded at 2,800 frames per second has been used to test high-speed trains travelling through the newly opened Ceneri Base Tunnel in Switzerland

29 July 2020

The Perseverance rover contains 19 cameras, including seven scientific instruments. It will analyse the climate and geology of Mars, looking for signs of past life, as well as monitoring the Martian atmosphere

02 July 2020

Norwegian seafood firm, Lerøy, has installed hyperspectral cameras on processing lines to sort fish. The system is able to measure the amount of blood in white fish, which gives a grade of quality

09 June 2020

Hyperspectral imaging is being used in a research programme at hospitals in Maryland and New York to investigate the prognostic value of skin findings associated with Covid-19 infection