By: Minna Silver
This spring, exactly after 10 years from the Arab Spring and now during and despite the pandemic, there has been a spectacular move of Egypt’s great pharaohs from the Old Egyptian Museum in Cairo to the modern Grand Egyptian Museum in the Golden Parade of the Pharaohs. The parade was broadcasted by Egypt’s Ministry of Tourism and indeed undoubtedly it will boost tourism to the new Grand Egyptian Museum which inauguration is expected to happen in June 2021.
One could now this spring follow the televised once in the lifetime procession of mummified pharaohs while a symphony orchestra and singers were playing and Egyptian dignitaries were attending the feast. Dimitri Tomkin had once composed Land of the Pharaohs and a special peace Pharaonic Procession which, for example, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra had recorded. We could now from distance enjoy a real historical procession and have change into the world of lockdowns at our homes.
Such famous pharaohs as the female pharaoh Hatshepsut and pharaoh Ramesses II, proceeded in specially modified vehicles in the streets of Cairo while the orchestra was playing pompous music and the vehicles transported the pharaohs to the better equipped Grand Egyptina Museum in Giza. It is fine that the ancient Egyptian finds including mummies will get the best laboratory treatment in the museum. The mummy of Tutankhamen, perhaps to us the most famous pharaoh, has been returned to its tomb which from the archaeological ethic point of view is an appropriate gesture.
Soon after the spectacle, the world was hearing about extraordinary findings when Dr. Zahi Hawass’s announced the discovery of the lost city of “the Rise of Athen” or “the Dazzling Aten” in Western Thebes next and across the Nile from Luxor. The city dates from the time of Pharaoh Amenophis III (ca. 1390-1352 BC) and his son Amenophis IV (ca. 1353-1336 BC), the latter later known as Akhenaten. The city was apparently used by successive pharaohs Tutankhamen (ca. 1334-1325 BC) and Ay. Pharaoh Akhenaten had created a new monotheistic religion known Atenism which the name of the lost city refers to. He also built the city for Aten in Amarna situated between Cairo and Luxor. From the palaeopathological and DNA examinations, Akhenaten has been identified as having been the father to the boy king Tutankhamen’s.
Some archaeologists have reacted to the discovery of the city that it is the most significant archaeological find made in Egypt since the tomb of Tutankhamen in 1922. The city was discovered when Hawass was looking for the so-called mortuary temple of Tutankhamen. The unearthed finds now consist of buildings, pottery, tools, jewelry and tombs. It seems to have partly served as an industrial centre of pharaohs, but only parts are exposed and the future can bring more new information of the nature of the city. It is claimed that the discovered city is the largest ever known in ancient Egypt.
In this digital age, there are numerous new ways to save the sites and finds from deterioration. The replica of Tutankhamen’s tomb has been produced by FactumArte to people to visit and save the original tomb. The unwrapping linen shrouds and wrappings of mummies have developed digitally. Now there are algorithmic ways to virtually unwrap mummies without actually opening them. We can see inside the wrappings: jewelry and shabtis, little anthropomorphic and magic statues set under wrappings. The director of the Egyptian Museum in Turin introduced the new invention of digitally unwrapping mummies at the GEORES conference in Milan in the spring of 2019.ByB
We are excited with the amount of contributions submitted to CIPA 2021, but many people have asked for some more time, so the deadline for the abstracts has been extended to April 15, 2021. After notification of acceptance, the final submission of your paper, to be published in the ISPRS Archives, is expected for June 30, 2021.
The deadline for the full papers, to be published in the ISPRS Annals, remains April 30, 2021.
Here you can submit your contribution and can find detail information about the submission’s format and system: http://www.cipa2021.org/call-for-papers/
All the accepted contributions will be publish on the ISPRS Annals and Archives ahead of the symposium, please look at CIPA 2019’s paper here:
- ISPRS Annals: https://www.isprs-ann-photogramm-remote-sens-spatial-inf-sci.net/IV-2-W6/
- ISPRS Archives: https://www.int-arch-photogramm-remote-sens-spatial-inf-sci.net/XLII-2-W15/
Looking forward for your contribution,
Since travel restrictions for most parts of the world will not be lifted by the end of August, it was decided that the coming CIPA Symposium in Beijing will be held in a hybrid format. This means that it will be a combination of both an online and a physical meeting. Our members and enthusiasts coming from the hosting country can meet each other in person at the venue – the Tsinghua University in Beijing, China. For the rest of us, the symposium will be held online. This hybrid format has consequences regarding the submission deadlines, the registration fees and the program. Detailed information can be found on www.cipa2021.org.
Please mind that:
- the registration fees are significantly reduced;
- the submission deadline for full papers to be double blind peer reviewed and published in the ISPRS Annals, is moved to April 30th;
- the deadline for abstracts, resulting in full papers published in the ISPRS Archives, is moved to March 30th;
- since the symposium will be live streamed entirely, the various sessions are scheduled as follows:
- Beijing Time (Chinese Standard Time): 09:00 – 11:30 AM; 4:00 – 6:30 PM; 9:00-11:30 PM
- Central European Summer Time: 10:00 – 12:30; 15:00 – 17:30
- Central Daylight Time: 08:00 – 10:30; 8:00 – 10:30 PM
We hope you will participate in and enjoy the symposium.
Detection and Documentation of the Great Wall of Gorgan
by dr. Abbass Malian
The Great Wall of Gorgan or the Red Snake (which owes its name to its red color bricks), is a historical wall that extends from the Caspian Sea to the top of the Alborz Mountains. Almost all of this wall is now gone, leaving only small parts of it buried underground. The Great Wall of Gorgan, with a length of about 200 km, the construction of which took more than 90 years, is the longest historical monument in Iran and the largest defensive wall in the world after the Great Wall of China. The historical wall of Gorgan dates back to the Sassanid period. Archaeologists have dated it to the 5th century AD.
Faculty of architecture and urbanism of Ferdowsi University of Mashhad organized an international camp for documentation of a modern architectural heritage in Iran, with collaboration of DOCOMOMO Iran (international committee for documentation and conservation of buildings, sites and neighborhoods of the modern movement), petroleum museums and documents center of Iran, and CIPA (international scientific committee for documentation of cultural heritage) inaugurated on 26th October 2020 and continued for four consecutive days. The camp aimed at technologically conducting measurement sciences into the heritage documentation and recording discipline. The participant students in this 30 hrs workshop learned and practiced computerizing photogrammetric survey of a modern architectural heritage, historical instruments and documents and have practiced facade mapping by drone photogrammetry.
The camp scientific secretory and assistant professor of faculty of architecture and urbanism of FUM (Dr. Parsa Pahlavan), the digitalization instructor (eng. Ali Eghra), with help of two assistants and a guest instructor, formed a team that included GIS expert, architect and material scientist, conservation expert, and BIM expert. The supervision guided the students from Iran, Afghanistan and Iraq to practice production of scientifically reliable documents on their own.
The petroleum reservoir of Mashhad (built in 1920) was digitally documented by modern tools and techniques and aside, some documents and objects related to the history of petroleum transfer were scanned for the first time. The general secretary of CIPA (prof. Fulvio Rinaudo), director of DOCMOMO (Hadi Naderi) Iran and I.R. IRAN representative in CIPA (Abbass Malian) sent video messages to the final ceremony of this event.
In October 2020, the 20th ICOMOS General Assembly and Scientific Symposium would have taken place in Sydney, Australia. Unfortunately COVID-19 determined otherwise. The “ICOMOS GA2020 Marker Event” took place to acknowledge the excellent work and support of the ICOMOS organizer team. The ICOMOS 21st General Assembly and Scientific Symposium will be held on 31 August – 09 September 2023 in Sydney, Australia.
Under normal conditions, during the GA elections take place for the new ICOMOS board. Given the situation, for the first time it was held online (from December 3th-4th and December 7th-8th). CIPA Heritage Documentation is pleased to inform you that two of its former presidents were elected, i.e. Andreas Georgopoulos and Mario Santana. The latter will also take the role of Secretary General. Needless to say that we are very proud. We would like to express our sincere congratulations and wish you a very productive term!
More information can be found on the ICOMOS webpage:
CIPA Emerging Professionals have organized, moderated and presented 7 online events, gathering an international audience from more than 75 countries, with a total attendance of over 1,000 people.
Accessing Heritage Places from Home Webinar Series (supported by CIPA, ICOMOS, the National Trust for Canada and NSERC CREATE Heritage Engineering)
- Part 1- ‘Digital Tools as Opportunities to Engage Audiences and Manage Sites’ on May 7, 2020; Speakers: Juan Perez Arcas (Worldsensing SL, Spain) ‘Application of low-power wide area networks (LPWAN) in cultural heritage monitoring’, Stephen Fai & Katie Graham (CIMS, Canada) ‘Big Stories’, Elizabeth Lee (CyArk, USA) ‘Together at Home with Heritage: Virtual access to cultural heritage and community through CyArk.org’, Chris Wiebe & Michelle Duong (National Trust for Canada, Canada) ‘Heritage Places Going Digital: Current Practices, Barriers, and Opportunities’, Antonia Teresa Spanò & Giulia Sammartano (Politecnico di Torino, Italy) ‘Hybrid multiscale 3D modelling for heritage sharing purposes’; Main moderators: Rebecca Napolitano and Efstathios Adamopoulos; Welcome address: Mario Santana Quintero, Chris Wiebe; Closing remarks: Grazia Tucci; Additional organizers: Joe Kallas, Michelle Duong; Attendance: 480 from 54 countries, 807 registered; Link to video recording: https://youtu.be/Kki1Wp_LERo
- Part 2- ‘Virtual Reality: Unlocking the Potential’; Speakers: Brett Leavy (Bilbie Labs, Australia) ‘VR as Storytelling Tool for First Nations’, Sofia Pescarin (CNR ITABC, Italy) ‘Videogames to Visit Immersively Archaeological Sites: A Night in the forum’, Damiano Aiello (Università di Catania, Italy) ‘Beyond Physical Barriers: Virtual Museums as a Means for Promoting and Enhancing Cultural Heritage’, Joshua Chartrand (CIMS, Canada) ‘A Truly Virtual Parliament: Translating HBIM to VR’, Rudi Knoops (KU Leuven & Alamire Foundation, Belgium) ‘The Alamire sound labs: immersive sound in real and virtual spaces’; Main moderator: Sara Gonizzi Barsanti; Welcome address: Chris Wiebe, Mario Santana Quintero; Closing remarks: Grazia Tucci; Additional organizers: Efstathios Adamopoulos, Joe Kallas, Michelle Duong, Rebecca Napolitano; Attendance: Attendance: 200 from 44 countries, 323 registered; Link to video recording: https://youtu.be/53eJdplq-U8
- Part 3- ‘Information Systems: Protecting the Past, Securing the Future’; Speakers: Ona Vileikis (University College London, UK) ‘Information Systems for Cultural Heritage Landscapes: Experiences in Central Asia’, Gamze Dane (Eindhoven University of Technology, Netherlands) & Martina Massari (University of Bologna, Italy) ‘The Role of Information Systems for Regeneration and Optimization of Cultural Heritage Districts: EU H2020 ROCK Project’, Bijan Rouhani (University of Oxford, UK) ‘Monitoring Endangered Archaeology in the Middle East and North Africa’, Joanna Cooper (CIMS, Canada) ‘0E3D – Digital Mapping of Eastern Ontario’; Main moderator: Ona Vileikis; Welcome address: Mina Silver; Closing remarks: Mario Santana Quintero; Additional organizers: Rebecca Napolitano, Efstathios Adamopoulos, Joe Kallas, Michelle Duong, Nour Jean Matta; Attendance: 89 from 29 countries, 166 registered; Link to video recording: https://youtu.be/wfc43p71tkA
- Part 4- ‘Ethics of Heritage Recording’; Panelists: Kacey Hadick (CyArk, USA), Julie Ivanoff (CIMS, Canada), Elena Macchioni (Getty Conservation Institute, USA), William P. Megarry (Queen’s University of Belfast, UK), Emily L. Spratt (Columbia University, USA), Youmna Tabet (UNESCO, France), Yves Ubelmann (ICONEM, France); Expert commentators: Mona Hess (University of Bamberg, Germany), Andreas Georgopoulos (National Technical University of Athens, Greece), Mechtild Rössler (UNESCO World Heritage Centre, France), Alex Ya-Ning Yen (China University of Technology, Republic of China); Main moderators: Mario Santana Quintero & Michelle Duong (Carleton University); Opening remarks: Stratos Stylianidis (Aristotle University of Thessaloniki), Chris Wiebe (National Trust for Canada), Mario Santana Quintero; Closing remarks: Laurie Smith (NSERC CREATE Heritage Engineering); Moderators: Rebecca Napolitano, Efstathios Adamopoulos and Joe Kallas; Attendance: 158 from 39 countries, 314 registered; Link to video recording: https://youtu.be/ZgbsGkGXQS8
Low-Cost Techniques for Heritage Recording and Visualization
- Speakers: Christian Ouimet (Heritage Conservation Services, Canada), Efstathios Adamopoulos (Università di Torino, Italy), Arnadi Murtiyoso (National Institute of Applied Science, France), Daniel Girardeau-Montaut (Johnson & Johnson, France), Nefeli Tentoma (National Technical University, Greece-formerly); Main organizer: Efstathios Adamopoulos; Welcome address: Mario Santana Quintero; Closing remarks: Grazia Tucci; Moderators: Rebecca Napolitano, Michelle Duong and Joe Kallas; More than 200 in attendance and more than 600 Youtube video views; Link to video recording: https://youtu.be/P_sSX0KDYek
Present your PhD Thesis Short Webinar Series
- Part 1- Arnadi Murtiyoso (INSA Strasbourg, France) presenting ‘Geospatial Recording and Point Cloud Classification of Heritage Buildings’ (26th May 2020); Moderator: Joe Kallas; Link to video recording: https://youtu.be/cVkDgEJxY0Y
- Part 2- Lia Ferrari (Università di Parma, Italy) presenting ‘Securing Damages Churches and Bell Towers: Analysis of costs and techniques of strengthening interventions after the 2012 Emilian earthquake for defining guidelines’ (2nd June 2020); Moderator: Joe Kallas; Link to video recording: https://youtu.be/Y-l6IGwAQlc
By Joe Kallas, Minna Silver and Ona Vileikis.
Shattered stained glass windows and endangered heritage left after the explosion in the harbour of Beirut in Lebanon, reflect the shattered hopes that the capital of Lebanon had during the decades of restoration in its historic sites. On 4 August 2020, a large amount of ammonium nitrate stored at the port of the city exploded causing irreversible damage to large areas of the historic city, among them the Gemmayzeh and Mar Mikhael neighbourhoods. A team of experts and volunteers, using digital technologies and high standards on documentation, are recording and assessing the cultural heritage that remained.
Biruta or Berytus, the ancient city of modern Beirut, has a long history that stretches over the Bronze Age starting some 5000 years ago. A small tell, a ruined settlement in the eastern bay region, witnesses the origins of a Bronze Age town with its Iron Age layers. Possibly from the Ebla archives in Syria, but obviously from the Amarna archives in Egypt, there are earliest textual references to Beirut. At various times Lebanon was ruled by princes under the vassalage of Syria, Egypt, Assyria, Babylonia, and Persia. The local people were Amorites and Canaanites, the latter identified with the Phoenicians.
The Iron Age saw the time of the flourishing Phoenician culture and the building of their own cultural identity. Phoenicians were the rulers of glass making, ivory carving and purple industry with textiles acting as famous traders in the Mediterranean region. Even, the name of Europe comes from a mythical Phoenician princess Europa who was abducted from Phoenicia to Crete. Later, the Greeks and Romans continued the production of these luxury articles. Archaeological layers and remains of the past, found under the modern urban milieu, tell us the long history of Beirut, but at the same time restrict any development in the city.
The heritage value of the Gemmayzeh and Mar Mikhael neighbourhoods dates back to the 19th century, with their architecture of the Ottoman and French mandate eras. They were among the first built after the expansion of the city of Beirut and of the few that still constitute a coherent historic urban fabric, only slightly affected by contemporary development. The Ottoman era architecture from the second half of the 19th century highlights residential buildings and villas with red tiled pitched roofs and large central halls featuring the famous triple-arched bay, emblematic of Beirut. Also, the 20th century three to four stories buildings of the French mandate era are architecturally significant, featuring balconies with decorative wrought-iron balustrades. Both types of structures comprise outstanding heritage values, and at the same time are precious for the owners and residents.
The buildings of the Ottoman era are the most vulnerable. Structurally, they are formed usually by a vaulted ground floor, the most stable part of the buildings, and on the upper floors, the central hall and the triple-arched bay divide the elevations in two. The loads of the high elevations and the pitched roofs are transmitted towards the lower parts via thin marble columns of the arches and thin sandstone masonry walls. A fine and beautiful architecture yet so fragile to withstand the pressure of such an explosion.
Many of the historic buildings that characterize the architectural heritage of Beirut have already been lost since the 90s. Due to the reconstruction works after the civil war, urbanization and globalization some developers have found an opportunity to demolish and build modern and futuristic unintegrated skyscrapers. Even the structures that were saved back then were always threatened by ‘unintentional’demolition. Now, after the explosion, professionals, and NGOs in the field of cultural heritage are concerned that structural damage may be used as an excuse to replace by high-rise the few buildings that remained.
As a response to the damage caused by the blast, heritage experts and alumni of the Center of Restoration and Conservation (CRC), created a volunteering initiative. This initiative is under the guidance of the Directorate General of Antiquities (DGA) with the support of the UNESCO Beirut Office, the International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property (ICCROM), the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) Lebanon, the Association for the Protection of Historic Sites and Buildings APSAD and Blue Shield Lebanon. Right after the blast, the volunteering team carried out a quick survey and assessed the damaged historic buildings. The team started with the emergency propping interventions for the buildings at high risk of collapse. Under the initiative, a team of local members of CIPA Heritage Documentation volunteered for the 3D documentation and photogrammetric survey.
The main mission of the documentation team is to digitalize all the historic buildings post-explosion, prioritizing the buildings at high risk of collapse. The overall aims of the 3D documentation are: 1) to report the current state of the buildings after the explosion; 2) to provide structural engineers with 3D models of the most critical buildings for analysis; 3) to provide the architect restorers with graphical models and drawings where they can quantify the needed work and materials for future restoration projects; and 4) most importantly, to have a graphic and scientific documentation of the buildings as a record for posterity in case of any sudden collapse.
How are we working on the documentation?
Data Capture: The area was divided into several zones, and each zone was assigned to a team member to cover it. Ground-level images are being acquired using a NIKON D800 Digital Camera or similar. Aerial imagery is taken using DJI Phantom 4 Pro Drone provided by the DGA and operated by its qualified staff, S. Germanos and N. Gergian, to cover the pitched roofs and non-accessible areas of the buildings as shown in Figure 4. Images are taken with large overlaps (≥ 80%). There are limitations due to accessibility and not all buildings are captured completely. For example, it is difficult to control the drone around the buildings separated by very narrow alleyways covered by electrical wires heavily covered by garden trees.
Data Processing: The photogrammetric 3D models are processed with Agisoft Metashape Professional 1.6.2. During data processing, images are being masked to exclude unwanted areas of each scene. Out-of-focus areas on some of the images are being masked also to increase the quality of the imagery and reduce noise levels. The 3D models are being semi-automatically generated following four steps: 1) generation of a sparse cloud with an approximate calculation of camera locations and orientations during images acquisition. For this step, the accuracy and density parameters are being set on high. The sparse clouds are being cleaned afterwards according to reprojection errors; 2) Generation of a 3D dense point cloud. For this step, the quality parameter is being set on high and the depth filtering parameter is being set on mild (see Figure 5); 3) Mesh from the generated point cloud. In this step, the mesh is being generated from the depth maps created during the generation of the 3D point cloud. The quality and face count parameters are being set on high. The Meshes are then being cleaned from unconnected components; and 4) Finally, the texture is created to obtain good resolution textures from the original acquired photographs (see Figure 6).
While it is our duty to preserve as much as possible our cultural heritage, we should eventually admit that we cannot save everything. A great opportunity is to systematically document it in case it vanishes permanently. Beirut’s efforts to document its shattered heritage, will keep the collective memory of the community alive, and will transmit the values and significance of these historic places to the wider public and our coming generations.
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