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Chavín – Peru. Combined 3D Technologies Deployed for Documenting and Visualizing a Unesco World Heritage Site

Commissioned by:

  • Museum Rietberg Zürich/Switzerland

Project Content:

The project was initianted for the large Chavín exhibition at the Musuem Rietberg in Zürich. Its core is a 3D documentation of the ceremonial temple complex in the Andes (3.2000m high) along with some important stone monuments of the Chavín culture. These scans were the basis for multimedia exhibition contents as well as further research and restoration purposes.

Different technologies were deployed for the project: high-resolution structured light scanning, terrestrial laser scanning and "structure from motion" 3D photogrammetry. Airborne 3D photogrammetry was carried out using a powerful octocopter and a motorized paraglider.

Scanning the temple complex took three people less than three weeks. Single objects of national Peruvian importance, like the Tello obelisk, the monumental Lanzón cult statue and some Chavín reliefs were also scanned with submillimeter accuracy. 

A monumental CNC-milled 1:1 replica of the 4m high statue ”Lanzón” was constructed according to the scanning data. Our multimedia specialists created different multimedia installations, visualizations and a virtual reconstruction of the temple for a 15 minute 3D documentary. Follow this link to watch the trailer...

The exhibition catalogue was enriched with many maps, figures, reconstructions and impressive aerial images.

A Swiss TV crew accompanied the 3D documentation work at Chavín. The 11-minute report can be seen here: SRF film "Digitizing an Andes temple" (German language).

Project Images

3D documentation of the temple
Chavín, paraglider flight
laser scanning in the temple's interior galleries
3D documentation of the temple
black-and-white portal, flat projection of a column
Lanzon - all four sides of the cult statue
Phase D - reconstruction
Cerro Sechin - watchman portal


The film for the exhibition - watch it now in full length...