THE ZAMANI PROJECT


The African cultural heritage and
landscape database

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METHODOLOGY

The Zamani Project digitally captures and preserves African heritage sites using laser scanning technology, photogrammetry, 3D modeling software, and animation software. With these tools, the Zamani team produces 3D models, photogrammetric images, panoramas, animations, and interactive virtual worlds that accurately capture the dimensions and architectural intricacies of the site’s physical structures and surrounding topography. Left: Interactive 3D Model of Fort St. Sebastian, Ghana.

MISSION

By creating metrically accurate digital representations of African historical sites, the Zamani Project seeks to increase international awareness of African cultural heritage. This visual data is also used for site restoration and conservation. Documented sites include Ghana, Mali, Cameroon, Egypt, Sudan, Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Algeria, Jordan, Abu Dhabi, and South Africa. The Zamani team is currently traveling and expanding the project’s site database.

ABOUT THE PROJECT

The project attempts to capture the spatial domain of heritage, with a current focus on Africa, by accurately recording its physical and architectural structures , their dimensions and their positions. Sites are seen in the context of their physical environment, and wherever possible, the topography of landscapes surrounding the documented sites is mapped based on satellite images and aerial photography. The documentation project was initiated to increase international awareness of Africa’s heritage and to provide material for research and education while, at the same time, creating a permanent metrically accurate record of important sites for restoration and conservation purposes. Data generated by the project have been, and are currently , used for conservation interventions in a number of sites.

STATE-OF-THE ART DATA ACQUISITION

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, Cameroon, Egypt, Sudan, Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Algeria, and South Africa as well as in Abu Dhabi and Jordan. 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.

HISTORY

The Zamani Project was initiated in 2004 in the Geomatics Division of the University of Cape Town and funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation from 2004 until 2012. Presently the project is funded through the independent “Zamani African Cultural Heritage Sites Trust", which was established by the Philanthropist and UCT Alumni Duncan Saville.This project was developed out of years of heritage documentation activities by the project's Principal Investigator, Heinz Rüther. The Zamani group comprising of three Scientific Officers, four to eight temporary assistants and interns and the Principal Investigator is the umbrella which manages and executes the documentation project. The spatial data acquired by the Zamani group is made available to subscribed Institutions worldwide and augmented by with contextual non-spatial data by ALUKA

TRANS-ATLANTIC SLAVE TRADE MAP

In conjunction with the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Database Project at Emory University, the Zamani Project has completed extensive investigation and documentation of the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade.

SWAHILI STORY MAP

The Zamani Project has also documented 180 Swahili sites along the East African Coast. The team has processed the data into a story map with each site's location and archaeological information.

THE TEAM

This Zamani Project grew out of years of heritage documentation activities by UCT Emeritus Professor of Geomatics Heinz Rüther, who currently leads the Zamani Project as Principal Investigator. The team now operates out of the Division of Geomatics at UCT, consisting of three Scientific Officers and four to eight assistants/interns.

HEINZ RUTHER
Principal Investigator,
Emeritus Professor of Geomatics at the
University of Cape Town
RALPH SCHROEDER
Chief Scientific Officer
ROSHAN BHURTHA
Chief Scientific Officer
STEPHEN WESSELS
Chief Scientific Officer
CHRISTOPH HELD
Former team member, current partner at the
Zoller + Frohlich laser scanning company
STEPHEN WESSELS
Chief Scientific Officer
CHRISTOPH HELD
Former team member, current partner at the
Zoller + Frohlich laser scanning company

PARTNERS, COLLABORATORS, ASSOCIATES