CyArk and ICOMOS Announce Joint Initiative for Emergency Recording and Archiving

by Elizabeth Lee
June 30, 2015
Today at the 39th Meeting of the UNESCO World Heritage Committee in Bonn Germany, ICOMOS and CyArk announced an MOU to launch a program for the emergency documentation of high risk cultural heritage. The initiative, named Project Anqa for the Arabic word for the Phoenix, intends to deploy teams of international professionals, paired with local professionals to document the at-risk sites in 3D before they are destroyed or altered.

In brief, the notion behind Anqa is that while many heritage sites and museums are located in inhospitable conflict zones, there are many sites in the surrounding regions that are accessible and can be rapidly and inexpensively digitally recorded now as a preventive measure lest they, too, be targeted for destruction. The data generated will be instrumental in general risk preparedness for the sites as well as in recovery once the much anticipated peace returns to the region. The data can also provide detailed documentation of the sites and objects which can aide in countering illicit antiquities trafficking.

The program will utilize new technologies which allow complex recording to take place in a fraction of the time and cost of traditional methods, creating detailed maps and models of sites in days instead of weeks or months. This critical work will bring many important benefits from providing tools to aide in site management or if needed, reconstruction, to training locals, to recording the stories of the sites for education and interpretive use.

Project Anqa is being executed along three critical paths:

• Pursuing relationships with cultural ministries throughout the region to secure permissions to access the sites as well as logistical support to perform the 3D documentation work.
• Soliciting funding from interested sponsoring governments, foundations, corporations and individuals.
• Mobilizing teams with the skills and technology required to collect the data.

We welcome your assistance on any of the three above paths. Please get in touch for more information