New technologies for documentation of cultural artefacts

2 December 2016

On 29 November 2016 UNESCO Sub-regional seminar on “Assessment of the impact on the World cultural, natural and mixed heritage” took place in Almaty, Kazakhstan. The aim of the seminar was to adapt and integrate the new technologies in documentation and visualization of the cultural heritage using contactless non-destructive methods for documentation.

The main aim of inscribing sites to the UNESCO World Heritage List is to save, manage and demonstrate cultural heritage. For this goal, there are several methods. One of these methods is preserving cultural heritage through creation of highly accurate 3D models of such heritage varying in complexity and implementing quickly in short terms. This is how it becomes possible to "clone" rare and valuable artefacts, and objects that are in a poor state of preservation. This also gives a chance to explore them in detail, making it easier to work with archives and scientific artefacts, for which there is a limited access.

Special attention was given to the contactless nondestructive methods such as: geomagnetic scanning, 3-D laser scanning and carpet air photography.

The rich experience of Kazakhstani scientists (participants were given the manual, prepared by “Archaeological expertise” company) allowed to demonstrate these methods from a new perspective. In the field of geophysics there were examples of work on monuments with the raw constructions (Akbeshim, Kuyuk-Mardan settlements), scanning large areas (Boraldai necropolis), researching the stratigraphy of the mound (Kyzylkabak). This experience is unique and will allow to have a fresh look at the use of these methods on the monuments.

The next stage of the seminar was to demonstrate the capacities of the ArtecEva 3D scanner. This technology allows scanning both big objects such as statue, archaeological excavation as well as small artefacts. In real time live streaming the capacities of such scanner were demonstrated by scanning an individual.

Scanning of a human ©UNESCO Almaty

The knowledge shared with the Central Asian experts and the consequent application of the new methods would save a large number of unique discoveries and would allow to share them with the world community through the use of different methods of visualization which were discussed during the seminar.

The seminar was organized by the UNESCO Almaty Cluster Office together with the “Archaeological expertise” LLP in the framework of the UNESCO/Japanese Funds-in-Trust Project: ‘Support for Silk Roads World Heritage Sites in Central Asia (Phase II).

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