Varsity braces for digital restoration of ancient sites

Varsity braces for digital restoration of ancient sites

An ancient crumbling building in Bengal's Bankura district (Photo Credit: MAKAUT)

In a unique initiative, a State University in West Bengal is all set to develop a digital system through which the original structure of dilapidated buildings with heritage value will be digitally reconstructed.

The main aim of the project titled Heritage Site Reconstruction will be the ancient buildings which have historical significance but are not in the list of heritage structures looked after by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI). 

Speaking to DH the Vice Chancellor of Maulana Abul Kalam Azad University of Technology (MAKAUT) Saikat Maitra said that the “system will recreate a digital replica of such heritage structures in their original condition by using artificial intelligence, image recovery and virtual reality.”

He also said that the creation of such digital replicas will increase accuracy during the restoration of the related buildings.

“In other words, the restoration will be much closer to history,” said Maitra. 

As to how the proposed system will function experts involved with the project said that in the first stage a photograph of the related building will be taken and then a digitally reconstructed replica of the building will be produced. “The digital replica will resemble to a great extent how the building looked like when it was first constructed,” said Maitra.

(Photo Credit: MAKAUT)

However, the project will not just require cutting edge software expertise but will also need a significant contribution from experts from the fields of architecture, history and archaeology. According to MAKAUT authorities have already approached several renowned experts from the related fields including a former director of ASI as well as experts from other countries. 

The idea first struck Maitra when he visited Oxford in August and witnessed latest technology of heritage preservation. The MAKAUT authorities got further impetus to go ahead with the project last month when Maitra along with other experts and faculty members visited the Bishnupur area of Bankura district. 

“A large number of centuries-old temples and other ancient structures in the area which are withering away with time made us realise the need to develop an integrated digital system which will play a key role in heritage preservation,” said Maitra. 

He also said that after completion the digital system will be used on a pilot project basis and if it receives positive response then it will be used on a larger scale. Maitra is also hopeful that the restoration of heritage buildings with the proposed software will provide a boost to tourism in Bengal.