Zamani Project: Documenting African Cultural Heritage
The Zamani Project is an
attempt to capture the spatial domain of heritage, with a current focus on African heritage, by accurately recording its physical and architectural nature and dimensions. Sites are seen in the context of their physical environment and landscapes surrounding sites are documented based on satellite and aerial imagery, wherever possible. The documentation project was initiated to increase international awareness of African heritage and provide material for research while, at the same time, creating a permanent metrically accurate record of important sites for restoration and conservation purposes.
The project is based on state-of-the art data acquisition and presentation technology which are used to generate Geographic Information Systems, 3D computer models and other spatial data. The data are captured during, often complex and difficult, field campaigns of the project team. The team has completed documentation work in Ghana, Mali, Kenya, Ethiopia, Tanzania and South Africa. Further documentation work is planned for other African sites.
The heritage collection is conceptualised as an integrated and interactive model, in which contextual data are closely linked to spatial data. It is the vision of the documentation project that the Zamani Project will not only be used as an information source but that the spatial data and representation of the sites will form the basis for additional site documentation and contribute to site management.
It is a project developed by our colleagues at the University of Cape Town’s Department of Geomatics, most notably Dr. Heinz Ruther. I wish them all the best in their attempts to document Africa’s incredible cultural heritage.