The Gorée Island Archaeological Digital Repository seeks to create virtual 3D representations of cultural heritage materials excavated from archaeological sites in and around Gorée Island, Senegal and share those representations in an open-access, online digital repository. The results of this project are composed of a series of 3D images of cultural heritage artifacts excavated from the Gorée Island dig sites. These images can be accessed via any web browser and are completely free for study, use, and research.
This work answers at least three needs in the scholarly community. First, it enables cultural heritage institutions in Africa to digital preserve archaeological materials in a way that is unobtrusive, inexpensive, and free from colonial interpretation and bias. The Gorée Island Archaeological Digital Repository makes use of stereo-photogrammetry, a process wherein a series of images are taken of an object and run through point-recognition software to create a virtual 3D image. This process inexpensive, portable, and relatively easy to complete, making it the jointly sustainable choice for African cultural heritage institutions.
Second, the repository allows scholars both within Africa and around the world to have access to these cultural heritage materials without the restrictions and inconveniences of analog-based preservation. Previous to this project, the materials found from the Gorée Island dig sites would have been accessible only by scholars with the resources to visit the archives in person. Now these materials are available online and can be accessed by anyone in the scholarly community (as well as the general public).
Finally, the Gorée Island Digital Repository builds capacity amongst Senegalese students, scholars, and organizations to continue documenting and preserving cultural heritage materials using industry best standards and practices. The Gorée Island Archeological Digital Repository is designed around focused training sessions in which technical experts from the United States train and tutor Senegalese content experts in best practices for 3D digital preservation. These students can then mentor other students and colleagues in a self-multiplication process until Senegalese cultural heritage institutions can operate independently from any external institutions or outside sources.
We welcome you to browse the site to learn more about the Gorée Island Archaeological Digital Repository, study the 3D object visualizations, and become active supporters of the project. Feel free to contact us with any questions or leave a comment on any page to start a discussion.