Curious TravellersVisualising Heritage
Curious Travellers is a data-mining and crowd sourced infrastructure to help with digital documentation of archaeological sites, monuments and heritage at risk. It provides a priority response to sites that have been destroyed or are under immediate threat from neglect, cultural vandalism, conflict and natural disasters. The project will initially highlight threatened or damaged sites in North Africa, including Cyrene in Libya, as well as those in Syria and the Middle East, but is open to heritage at risk around the world.
The project provides the infrastructure for receiving public-donated photographs and videos and the mechanism for extensive web-mining of photographic and related information drawn from travel blogs, the wider web and social media. Images will be combined to recreate 3D models of monuments and ancient sites and placed in context using relevant site and landscape data. We recognise that contextual data inclusive of images, landscapes, geotags, textual description, and even the sentiment of the users are important for reconstructing cultural heritage.
The context and visual impact of this project will enable us to connect with global audiences and in doing so heighten awareness of the plight faced by threatened heritage. The importance of cultural heritage is summed up in a simple message at the entrance to the National Museum of Afghanistan...'A nation stays alive when its culture stays alive'.
The project has received funding from the United Kingdom's Arts & Humanities Research Council. The project takes its name from a quote by Horace Walpole, Earl of Orford, in a letter to Sir Horace Mann (1774)... 'At last some curious traveller from Lima will visit England, and give a description of the ruins of St Paul's, like the editions of Balbec and Palmyra'.
The initial 3D-models from the project have been published in Current World Archaeology volume 82. You can view and interect with the models mentioned in the article here.
We encourage widespread interaction with this resource. Please visit the get involved pages to upload images. The project team can be contacted by e-mail.