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Virtual Archaeology: Travel Back in Time

See the World’s Most Inaccessible Archaeological Sites

We often associate virtual reality (VR) with thrilling experiences we may never be able to have in real life – such as flying a jet fighter, exploring the oceans or going on a spacewalk. But researchers are also starting to use this technology to study and open up access to archaeological sites that are difficult to get to. An archaeological site can be inaccessible for a range of reasons. It might be in a remote location or on private property, the archaeological remains may be fragile, or it might just be difficult or dangerous to get there.

VR technologies are starting to open up remote access to sites around the world, and the application of immersive technologies are proliferating across the globe. The most creative of these projects include scientific information to make them more than simple replications – enhanced learning environments where scientific knowledge can inform the public about the past. Excitingly, this offers entirely new ways to learn from old sites, without damaging them. (Continue Reading from Smithsonian Magazine)


Virtual Exhibits

Click the links in the gallery below to visit CyArk and Google Arts & Culture's exhibit pages. All of their exhibits include virtual walk-throughs, 3D architectural and artifact modeling, and so much more - all extremely interactive!

View Google Arts & Culture Exhibit

The ancient city of Bagan was the political, economic, and cultural center of the Bagan Kingdom from approximately 1044 to 1287 CE. The rulers of Bagan oversaw the construction of over 5,000 religious monuments over an area covering about 65 square kilometers on the Bagan plains. More than 2,000 of the original structures hae survived in varying states of repair until the present and can be found in the Bagan Archaeological Zone. (Continue Reading from Google Arts & Culture)

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The complex cave and rock shelters of Laas Geel, Dhagah Kureh, and Dhagah Nabi Galay lie just 30-45 minutes outside of Hargeisa, the capital of Somaliland, a self-declared republic and autonomous region of Somalia. Exhibiting outstanding Neolithic rock art, the sites' cave paintings are considered to be some of the best preserved rock paintings in all of Africa, and are essential to the horn of Africa's historical and heritage legacy. These rock art sites are endangered from a number of factors, both natural and human caused. (Continue Reading from CyArk)

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The island of Rapa Nui or Easter Island is famous for the large stone statues known as moai built by the native Polynesian inhabitants of the island. Constructed from the 10th to the 16th century, these large stone figures were carved from volcanic stone and were shaped to represent important ancestors and chiefs of the island. With an average height of 13 feet and weighing 14 tons the statues were transported throughout the island and positioned upon large stone ceremonial platforms known as ahus. (Continue Reading from CyArk)

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The Temple of Eshmun was established sometime at the end of the 7th century by Phoenicians as a conduit to the Phoenician king's favored deity: Eshmun, the god of healing. The site of the temple was chosen for its closeness to a water source that would be used in healing ceremonies. Later cultures built around the ruins of the temple after it was destroyed by an earthquake in the middle of the fourth century. The site today holds a diverse range of structures from different eras that all worshiped the healing waters from the original temple. (Continue Reading from CyArk)

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Ancient Corinth sits in a strategic position between land and sea and the ancient Greek city came to prominence by controlling area trade routes. An important cultural center throughout history, the city was known for its artistic innovations and the ruins today show numerous Greek, Roman, and Byzantine architectural features. The heart of ancient Corinth was the Fountain of Peirene, a freshwater spring featured in Greek mythology which also served as the primary source of water for Corinth. (Continue Reading from CyArk)

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This well-preserved grouping of Neolithic monuments and structures includes six sites: Skara Brae, Ring of Brodgar, Maeshowe, Stones of Stennes, Watch Stone, and Barnhouse Stone. Occupied roughly between 3100-2500 BCE, the Heart of Neolithic Orkney lies on the Scottish Orkney Islands, and provides a rare glance into prehistoric life in northern Europe. (Continue Reading from CyArk)

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In December 2019 CyArk traveled to the UNESCO World Heritage site of Kilwa Kisiwani off the coast of Tanzania. Working in collaboration with ICOMOS International and the Antiquities Division within the Department of Natural Resources and Tourism for the Republic of Tanzania the CyArk field team documented three structures at the site. The Great Mosque, Gerezani Fort and Malindi Mosque were documented using terrestrial LIDAR, terrestrial photogrammetry and aerial photogrammetry with drones. (Continue Reading from CyArk)

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The Buddhist monastery and associated stupas of the Jaulian archaeological complex shed light on the early evolution and spread of Buddhism along the Silk Road. The site was constructed between the 2nd and 4th centuries CE and is located in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province of Northern Pakistan, part of the ancient Kingdom of Gandhara. Jaulian is one of many Buddhist sites constructed throughout the region during the Kushan period which was marked by general prosperity, a cosmopolitan mix of cultures, and state support of architecture. (Continue Reading from CyArk)

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Standing offshore from the island of Naxos in the Cycladic archipelago, the Temple of Apollo or Portara is an unfinished temple facing Delos, the birthplace of the Ancient Grecian god Apollo. Concieved by the tyrant Lygdamis, the temple was intended to be the largest and most glorious building in all of Greece. However, Lygdamis was overthrown before the temple could be completed in 506 BCE, resulting in the abandonment of the site. (Continue Reading from Google Arts & Culture)

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The digital documentation of the Ananias chapel was part of Project Anqa, A collaboration between CyArk, ICOMOS and Carleton University, funded by UK-based charity Arcadia Foundation. Responding to the catastrophic loss of heritage in the Middle East, the project seeks to further protect monuments through training local heritage professionals in digital preservation techniques. (Continue Reading from CyArk)

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Ancient Stabiae was established in the first centuries BCE and CE in a panoramic position on the edge of Varano hill. Chosen by the aristocracy and members of the Roman Imperial, Ancient Stabiae was home to luxury villas of the Roman elite. After the eruption of the Vesuvius in 79 CE, the city was buried under fourteen meters of dry lapilli (cinder) as were the nearby sites of Pompeii and Herculaneum. (Continue Reading from CyArk)

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Located 32 kilometers (20 miles) northeast of Mexico City, Teotihuacán is one of the largest and most impressive Mesoamerican sites; its expansive urban causeways and massive pyramids rise from the Basin of Mexico as a monument to its lasting influence and grandeur.The name Teotihuacán translates to 'The City of the Gods' in the Nahuatl language of the Aztec people, who conquered the area over 700 years after Teotihuácan fell. (Continue Reading from CyArk)

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Within the hills above Santa Barbara, along the narrow, winding road of Highway 154, rises a cliff of sandstone. Nestled inside the fine sandstone almost hidden from view is a small room-sized cave. Following a short path, visitor will come to an iron cross-hatched gate. Peering in, their eyes will quickly adjust to the darkened cave to view one of the best preserved rock art sites in California and of the Chumash People. At little over seven acres, the cliffs were designated a State Park in 1976 to preserve these paintings. (Continue Reading from CyArk)

Google Open Heritage and CyArk

On World Heritage Day 2018, CyArk launched Open Heritage on Google Arts & Culture to showcase the technology used for heritage preservation around the world. This year, we’re expanding the project further. Our goal isn’t just to digitally preserve heritage sites at risk, but to make their stories and the data we collected available to future generations of researchers, educators and students. (Continue Reading from Google Blog)

CyArk is a non profit organization founded in 2003 to digitally record, archive and share the world's cultural heritage and ensure that these places continue to inspire wonder and curiosity for decades to come. After 15 years in operation we have recorded over 200 monuments on all 7 continents. We assist those who work to manage and preserve these sites by providing engineering drawings and detailed maps to assist in critical conservation work and the active management of these sites. We archive the data using state of the art processes to ensure that this data continues to be available in a disaster recovery scenario, tomorrow or decades in the future. And we strive to share this data in powerful ways, including truly immersive experiences in Virtual Reality that convey the power of these places, transporting users that may never have a chance to experience them and inspiring others to make the journey. (Continue Reading from Google Arts & Culture)

To learn more, visit the sites below: