Project History

This project began as a small pilot project in 2009, with an art historian and an archaeologist’s collaborative research on the ancient Maya kingdom and UNESCO World Heritage site of Copan in Honduras—called MayaArch3D. The project researches innovative approaches to integrate GIS, 3D digital models, and virtual reality (VR) environments online for teaching and research on ancient architecture and landscapes. It has grown into an international, interdisciplinary project that brings together art historians, archaeologists, and cultural resource managers with experts in remote sensing, photogrammetry, 3D modeling, and virtual reality.

The Start Up Project was directed by Dr. Jennifer von Schwerin and Dr. Heather Richards-Rissetto and funded by two National Endowment for the Humanities, Digital Humanities Start-Up grants to the University of New Mexico (UNM). The work was carried out in close collaboration with ETH Zürich (Armin Gruen and team), FBK Trento (Fabio Remondino and team), UC Merced (and Maurizio Forte and team) and the German Archaeological Institute (Markus Reindel). It developed and beta-tested a pipeline and prototype 3D WebGIS —called QueryArch3D.

The MayaArch3D follow-up project is carried out by two project partners. The German Archaeological Institute (DAI) and the GIScience Research Group at the University of Heidelberg. The Project is funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF).