SCS/AIA Annual Meeting: Presentation by The Institute for Digital Archaeology

  • Yosemite B, Hilton Union Square 333 O'Farrell St. San Francisco, CA 94102 United States

Over the last decade, the fusion of traditional techniques with high technology has brought about a profoundly exciting expansion in the scope of archaeological research. The Million Image Database Program of The Institute for Digital Archaeology is an international project seeking to explore how these expanding boundaries might affect the ambitions of twenty-first century archaeology. At the heart of the initiative is the application of a suite of innovative techniques for the documentation, preservation, and restoration of at-risk archaeological sites across the globe, with a particular focus on the Middle East. The Program is providing thousands of volunteers with stereoscopic photography equipment capable of producing images that can be used to create detailed maps of sites, and 3D computer models of architectural structures. These images and models will populate a large-scale publically accessible visual database, created in collaboration with UNESCO. This resource will form an ever-growing archaeological catalog, bringing together scholarly information, raising awareness of cultural heritage preservation, and providing a new platform for the identification of stolen and trafficked objects. In parallel, the Program is pioneering the use of 3D printing in concrete as a platform for the restoration and reconstruction of architectural archaeological structures — a technology which potentially brings new life to sites damaged or destroyed by conflict or natural disaster, and transforms the speed, scale, and affordability of large-scale reconstruction.