Lonely Planet Writer

Your holiday pictures can help preserve the legacy of world heritage

A UK-based project is seeking photographs and videos from travellers to build a valuable online resource to help preserve the legacy of some of the world’s most important monuments and historic sites. It is calling on contributions from those who have previously captured images from sites that are now damaged or are under risk of destruction from conflict, cultural vandalism, neglect and natural disasters.

Temple of Zeus colonnade in Cyrene, Libya. Image: Gareth Sears, University of Birmingham
Temple of Zeus colonnade in Cyrene, Libya. Image: Gareth Sears, University of Birmingham

Run by a group of archaeologists from the UK, ‘Curious Travellers’ aims to combine publicly donated photographs and videos with other freely available resources drawn from travel blogs, the internet and social media. These will be used to digitally recreate 3D models of these monuments and ancient sites, including those that are most at risk in Syria and Libya.

Amphitheatre at Cyrene, Libya. Image: Gareth Sears, University of Birmingham
Amphitheatre at Cyrene, Libya. Image: Gareth Sears, University of Birmingham

Researchers from the University of Bradford, the University of St Andrews, the University of Birmingham and the University of Nottingham Ningbo China have joined forces with regional specialists for the project, which has received £305,000 in funding from the UK’s Arts and Humanities Research Council.  It is hoped that it will provide an important framework for government bodies and heritage organisations in relation to other heritage sites around the world.

Temple of Baalshamin Palmyra, Syria. Image: Stephen Rowland, Oxford Archaeology North
Temple of Baalshamin Palmyra, Syria. Image: Stephen Rowland, Oxford Archaeology North

“Destruction of our world’s monuments is a deliberate attempt to undermine a community’s cultural identity, explained Jo Johnson, Minister of State for Universities, Science, Research and Innovation. “Thanks to the UK’s technological advances, our holiday pictures could now help rebuild and preserve these great ancient sites for future generations.” For further information and to upload material to the Curious Travellers’ website, please visit www.visualisingheritage.org

Monumental Arch, Palmyra, Syria. Image: Stephen Rowland, Oxford Archaeology North
Monumental Arch, Palmyra, Syria. Image: Stephen Rowland, Oxford Archaeology North