Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Scots team to digitally scan ancient Indian landmark

One of India's most historic landmarks is to be digitally recorded by a group of Scottish experts in an effort to preserve its every detail.

The team, from Glasgow School of Art and Historic Scotland, will scan the Rani Ki Vav Stepwell in Gujarat.

The site, which dates back to 1050, is made up of decorated stepped terraces descending into the ground.

The project is part of a global programme by the design team to record sites of historical significance.

Among the sites already scanned are New Lanark's 18th Century mills, Mount Rushmore in South Dakota and Neolithic sites in Orkney.

The team said they were aiming to use laser technology to create exact digital models of the site that will help with conserving and maintaining it.

'Breathtaking site'

Rani Ki Vav has only been fully excavated in the past 50 years and is currently on the Unesco tentative list to be considered for World Heritage Site status.

Scotland's Minister for Culture and External Affairs Fiona Hyslop said: "This is a great collaboration with the Scottish and Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) on behalf of the Indian government and I am delighted that Scotland is able to provide the expertise to ensure this nationally important and breathtaking site is captured in its entirety and conserved for future generations.

"The Scottish 10 is a project which is establishing Scotland as world leader in the use of digital documentation technology, innovation and is allowing us the chance to share our knowledge in heritage conservation and preservation while capturing some the world's most important heritage sites."

Doug Pritchard, of the Digital Design Studio at The Glasgow School of Art, said: "The Queen's Step Well clearly illustrates the sophistication and magnificence of Indian culture and I hope that by working with the Archaeological Survey of India we will be able to assist in conserving this structure for future generations.

"The team were amazed by the beauty and elegance of the site which, with its highly detailed sculptures and various levels, will present a real challenge to our technology and technical abilities."

The other Scottish World Heritage Sites to be scanned as part of the project are the Antonine Wall, The Old and New Towns of Edinburgh and St Kilda.

The images created will be shared with the American not-for-profit organisation CyArk, founded by Ben Kacyra, inventor of the laser scanner. It is collecting the data from 500 world heritage landmarks to hold in a global archive.

BBC News. 2011. "Scots team to digitally scan ancient Indian landmark". BBC News. Posted: March 6, 2011. Available online: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-12657410

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