Laser Scanners Help Preserve Part of the Hopi Past.

A team from Cyark, a non-profit organization dedicated to documenting historical sites around the world, is working to preserve the memory of an important art of the Hopi Native American Culture.

Tutuveni, located between Mesa and Flagstaff in Central Arizona, boasts more than 5,000 Hopi clan symbols that were inscribed during the ceremonial pilgrimage to Ongtupqa, or the Grand Canyon, which is for many Hopi the point of their people’s emergence into the world. Unfortunately, vandalism over the past 20 years has severely damaged the petroglyphs carved into rock faces throughout the site.


The site is so important to the Hopi that Tutuveni has been added to the World Monuments Fund Watch list, a designation that places it alongside Machu Picchu in Peru, Afghanistan’s Bamiyan Valley and other endangered sites.

Today, Cyark representatives are working to recreate Tutuveni digitally, should it one day be lost to vandalism and decay. This involved creating an enclosure for the grounds, spanning more than 6,000 square meters, to protect it from further damage. The team them utilizes laser scanners to collect point cloud data of the rock features.

The results of the Cyark project may be found on the project site. Galleries, 3D models and panoramic photos of the glyphs can all be accesses here. Take some time too to view this video for more details.

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