Can Virtual Archaeology Revive India’s Cultural Heritage?

Virtual Archaeology
Woman in hijab looks up using a VR device with ruins of Persepolis behind her at sunset in Iran.

India has a rich history and tradition. Historical monuments are reminders of that rich past. However, it is losing its cultural heritage rapidly. The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI)—nodal body for archaeology—hasn’t been successful in maintenance; it has over 3600 historical monuments, 100,000 rare books, in its custody. Outdated methods of preservation and institutional apathy are the primary reasons. However, fruits of modern technology such as Virtual Reality can be used for preservation.

Welcome the age of Virtual Archaeology

Through data visualization as well as virtual reconstruction, archaeological institutions can provide the public with real-life perception of how a specific monument would have looked hundreds of years back—rekindling their desire to dig deeper into the history of the place. This will add on a fascinating angle to historical ruins. Virtual archaeology can actually reignite public interest in the science of excavations or archaeology. The technology suits historical sites that got completely destroyed.

“Frequently termed virtual archaeology, these latest Virtual Reality software and tools can help ASI and other such institutions across the world capture digital information and store, share, collaborate, and display data. Data could include high-definition photos and videos, aerial footage, as well as laser scans. The gathered data can be analyzed for insights into problems and challenges facing archaeology,” said Brajesh Sachan, Chief Technology Officer, Deskera, a global cloud software provider.

Integrated Virtual Reality (VR) tools could lead to institutional collaborative efforts

A digital resurrection can lend support to ruins like those in Nalanda (Bihar) or tombs and forts in Delhi which can be virtually brought back to life by using three-dimensional laser projection. Those techniques could play a vital role in facilitating restoration and preservation of historical monuments and sites.

“Virtual Reality technologies such as laser scanning or high-definition imaging can create three-dimensional representation of heritage sites. It might turn out to be the next best thing for archaeology and its enthusiasts,” added Sachan.

Archaeology can benefit in myriad ways from Virtual Reality

Modern tools such as Google Cardboard can make exploration of historical monuments a joy ride. Moreover, high-definition VR visualizations can be constructed and viewed across geographical locations. Plus, a digital archaeological library can be accessed by researchers globally if the collected data is archived. This will converge archaeologists and archaeology on a unified digital platform.

[Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are solely those of the authors and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of Trivone Media Network’s or that of CXOToday’s.]

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