UNESCO World Heritage Site Monte Albán of Mexico in 3D

Zapotec capital digitized with 3D laser scanners and HDR photography

by Justin Barton
June 25, 2009
CyArk is pleased to announce the web-launch of our latest project, the Zapotec capital of Monte Albán, Mexico. This project was made possible through the generous collaboration of the Instituto Nacional de Antroplogía e Historia (INAH) of Mexico. The field work was conducted by a team of experts compiled from Leica Geosystems, SYSTOP, and CyArk.

Monte Albán is only one of the 29,000 pre-Columbian sites managed by INAH manages. INAH and local site managers intend to use the data collected by the High Definition Documentation (HDD) work to aid in planning and conservation. The HDD data also provides a point-in-time record of the documented structures. This new, detailed record is a necessary precaution for this 2500 year old, seismically susceptible heritage site. In 1999, for example, a 7.6 magnitude quake struck and damaged a number of monuments, particularly some of the subterranean structures.

The small complex at Monte Albán known as System IV was chosen for the pilot project as it represents the most typical structures found within Monte Albán. Its pyramid, courtyard, and elevated platform also parallel architectural styles found throughout Mesoamerica. This made System IV an excellent template to test and plan future digital preservation work throughout Mexico.

Monte Albán is CyArk’s first Zapotec site and continues our growing partnership with INAH. We look forward to carrying our relationship into the future to help digitally preserve more of Mexico’s outstanding and monumental cultural heritage.

Please find a free, custom "Monte Albán: Capital of the Zapotec Empire" desktop wallpaper in the Related Images section (below) of this post for your enjoyment! It comes in 3 resolution sizes: 1600x1220 px, 1440x900 px, and 1280x1024px.

Scanning System IV and its contextual landscape from atop the structures.
<a href="http://archive.cyark.org/elevation-of-system-iv-5-media">2D CAD drawing</a> produced of System IV, complete with detailed, accurate measurements.
Still image of the <a href="http://archive.cyark.org/scan-shot-of-system-iv-5-media">3D point cloud</a> created of System IV.
Related Projects:
Monte Albán