Protecting the Cultural Heritage of the Qhapaq Ñan
Spanning 30,000 kilometers and six countries, the Qhapaq Ñan or “great road” was the primary artery for communication, trade, and defense during the Inca empire. Protecting the unique cultural heritage found along this route has proved challenging due to its vast scale.
Map of sites along the Qhapac Ñan by CyArkCyArk
Ambassador's Fund for Cultural Preservation (AFCP)
In 2021 CyArk received funding through the AFCP to provide virtual training in 3D documentation of cultural heritage and digital storytelling for three communities found in Ecuador and Peru.
Ingapirca Archaeological Complex
In Ecuador, CyArk partnered with the Instituto Nacional de Patrimonio Cultural to digitally document the Ingapirca Archaeological Complex, Ecuador's most visited archaeological site.
Pumapungo Archaeological Park
Located 60 km south of Ingapirca, the Pumapungo Archaeological Park features hundreds of walls and terraces.
Aypate Archaeological Complex
In Peru, CyArk partnered with the Ministry of Culture, and the local community of Ayabaca to document the Great staircase and the Acllahuasi, also known as the "house of the chosen".
Local partners at each of the selected sites were shipped digital cameras and were provided training on how they can quickly and accurately document cultural heritage sites using photogrammetry.
Photogrammetry Ingapirca (2022) by CyArkCyArk
Following the training, local partners documented the three sites. In total over 10,000 high-resolution images were taken as part of this project.
Participants complete photogrammetry at the Pumapungo Archaeological Park.
Following the documentation, local partners also interviewed community members to share the many reasons why these sites are essential to local communities and should be preserved and protected.
Hear from Blanca Lema, a local Cañari Healer
Explain why Ingapirca is important to her and her community
3D Render of Ingapirca (2022-07-19) by CyArkCyArk
Developing a Virtual Tour
The 3D data and interviews with community members were combined together to develop an educational virtual tour. Explore the sites in 3D!
Building Capacity in Ecuador and Perú
The data collected will soon be available to download at OpenHeritage3D.org, and the training and equipment provided to local partners will support future projects related to protecting cultural heritage well into the future.