73.4 F
Mérida
Tuesday, January 25, 2022
###

World’s largest 3D archive digitally preserves Chichén Itzá

Latest headlines

Rails for the Mayan Train are being laid near Chichén Itzá

Rails are now being laid near Chichén Itzá for the first tests of the Mayan Train.

The story of the “many Méridas”

Many people living in Mérida, Yucatán are vaguely aware that the city shares its name with other communities around the world. But the specifics surrounding how and why Yucatán’s capital got its name are unknown to most. 

A leak in a Tabasco Pemex oil pipeline causes disastrous fire

A massive fire sparked by a leaking oil duct has created massive environmental damage in Huimanguillo, Tabasco. 

Untrained tour guides compete for tourist dollars in Chichén Itzá

Arguments between tour guides at Chichén Itzá have on rare occasions even resulted in fights and physical violence. Photo: Carlos Rosado...
Yucatán Magazine
Sign up to get our top headlines delivered to your inbox twice a week.

Chichén Itzá and other ancient monuments are being scanned for posterity. Photo: CyArk


Chichén Itzá and other historic monuments around the world are vulnerable to the ravages of time, not to mention natural disasters, reckless tourists and even war.

That’s why Ben Kacyra founded CyArk, a nonprofit that scans and digitally archives ancient monuments in a project called Open Heritage. It is the largest archive of its kind, Google says.

With laser scanning, photogrammetry, drone imaging and structured light scanning, CyArk — short for cyber archive – is developing detailed 3D images of Chichén Itzá as well as the Ananda Ok Kyaung temple in Myanmar and the Al Azem Palace in war-torn Syria.

While Open Heritage has been in the works for a year, CyArk has been collecting this type of data at hundreds of sites since the organization was founded in 2003.

Now, Google is making these models available through its Arts & Culture platform.

In 2016, an earthquake damaged a number of Myanmar’s ancient temples, but CyArk had already scanned and photographed some of the structures. So it was able to create accurate 3D models of the damaged temples, and the public can explore them with a computer, smartphone or VR viewer to see how they once looked.

The data collected by CyArk could also be used to aid in restoration efforts.

Of all the world’s treasures, Chance Coughenour, a digital archaeologist managing the project from Google’s end, has a personal favorite. It is the same one CyArk is most often asked about: Chichén Itzá, one of the seven wonders of the ancient world.

It’s a special site for Coughenour as an “avid fan of Mayan archaeology,” he told Wired Magazine. In particular, he’s excited by the opportunity to 3D model a structure at Chichén Itzá named the Caracol, which is snail in Spanish, alluding to its shape.

This ancient astronomical observatory is rare for how well it’s stood the test of time, and because “there are not many circular structures in the Mayan world,” Coughenour says. “It’s been proven by researchers that the Maya used this to study the sun, sunsets, sunrise, the Equinox, and stars.”

Through Google Arts & Culture, 25 historic locations in 18 countries are viewable in 3D here. Those wanting to download CyArk’s data can apply to do so through this form.

- Advertisement -

Subscribe Now!

More articles

A stunning 5,425 new COVID cases in a week

Residents make use of a hand-washing station installed in the Centro. Photo: Artur Widak / NurPhoto via Getty Images

Booster shots arrive for Mérida residents between 40-59

Booster shots for Mérida residents in their 40s and 50s arrived Friday. Photo: Courtesy A military plane with...

Mexico celebrates International Mariachi Day

Mariachis in Mexico and around the world celebrate International Mariachi Day observed every Jan 21. 

Marines to take over security at Mérida and Cancún airports

Mexico's Marines will be taking control of seven airports across the country, with  Mérida and Cancún among them. 

What to do if you find baby sea turtles on the beach

Most people realize that it is not a good idea to disturb nesting or baby turtles, but what should we do if one appears to be in peril or distress?

New Frontier Airlines route to connect Cancún with Houston

Citing an increase in demand, Frontier Airlines has announced a new flight between Houston and Cancún.

Yucatán’s muralism boom —  an explosion of color, tradition and meaning

Yucatán’s history of muralism famously dates all the way back to the elaborate frescoes of the ancient Maya.

Students at Mérida’s private Catholic Universities caught trading thousands of explicit photos of their classmates

Numerous students at Mérida’s Anáuac Mayab University are reportedly active in a “secret” chat group to trade intimate photos of classmates, as well as engage in cyberbullying. 

New benches at ancient archaeological site anger Izamal residents

Modern slab benches detract from an ancient ruin at Izamal, neighbors say. Photo: Courtesy Modern-looking benches installed at...

Being a good neighbor to Yucatán’s roof cats and street dogs

Illustration: Juan Pablo Quintal García Cats replaced people as my friends soon after quarantine 2020 began.