13 February 2013

Helping to save ancient treasures

RMIT University researchers are helping to save ancient treasures in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Following a successful trip last year, they are preparing to travel to Fujairah again this year to take 3D scans of some of the emirate's archaeological treasures.

Their work is featured in a three-page spread in the latest international publication Technology & More 2012-2013, a publication for surveying and mapping professionals.

The story featured on the cover of the magazine and 3,500 copies were given to industry delegates at a conference in the US.

The researchers from the School of Mathematical and Geospatial Sciences are undertaking 3D laser scanning of important cultural, historic and natural tourism sites in and around the city.

The team comprises Associate Professor Colin Arrowsmith, Dr David Silcock, senior lecturer; Lucas Holden, lecturer; and Mohamed Al Hassani, a PhD candidate.

Associate Professor Arrowsmith said their data would help create a baseline for measuring the effects of climate change on the ancient treasures over time.

"Fujairah, one of the seven emirates that make up the UAE, is home to the oldest mosque in the UAE, Al Bidyah Mosque, built in 1446 of mud and bricks," he said.

"This and other archaeological treasures make Fujairah a magnet for visitors, who generate vital income for the local economy.

"The negative effects of climate change threaten these important resources, but the extent of the threat is not understood - at least not yet."

Mr Al Hassani, a Fujairah native - under the supervision of Associate Professor Arrowsmith, Dr Silcock and Mr Holden - aims to change that.

His doctoral thesis will investigate the impact and develop a framework for managing the effects of climate change in Fujairah and other developing regions.

Together with the Fujairah Tourism and Antiquities Authority, the team identified five key sites for gathering spatial data: the Al Bidyah Mosque, the Al Fujairah and Al Bithna forts, the Al Wuraya wadi (a dry river bed) and Al Aqah beach.

Dr Silcock, Mr Al Hassani, Associate Professor Arrowsmith and Mr Holden outside Fujairah Fort.

Dr Silcock, Mr Al Hassani, Associate Professor Arrowsmith and Mr Holden outside Fujairah Fort.

Preparing to take a 3D scan

The team conducts a scan.




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Group photo standing in front of a large rock

On site in the UAE, Associate Professor Arrowsmith, Dr Silcock, their driver from the Fujairah Tourism and Antiquities Authority (FTAA), Moza Al Murashda (FTAA), and front, Aisha Alkabbi (FTAA).