A former boss of mine, who must have thought I wanted his job, admonished me for taking out of the trash can copies of his business magazines. He was hard to convince that I liked reading anything of interest. So it was that I glanced through a copy of "The American Surveyor", a magazine my retired husband still gets (free) and found an interesting article about an organization I didn't know existed: CyArk.
CyArk is a high definition Heritage Network which goes about "preserving Cultural Heritage Sites through collecting, archiving and providing open access to data created by laser scanning, digital modeling, and other state-of-the-art technologies."
Having recently visited Mesa Verde Park, I was interested to note that CyArk was asked to be on a location shoot in this area, and just happened to pack a scanner to be used as a "prop" for the show. That prop became an important tool in scanning and measuring some of the cliff dwellings that are in danger of disappearing due to wind, rain, erosion, and temperature changes. CyArk studied the park's Square Tower House site, whre a large boulder had detached from the alcove face and damaged some of the walls of Square Tower House and one of the kivas.
According to "The American Surveyor" report by Elizabeth Lee, CyArk's founder Ben Kacyra loved the park's old dwellings and decided on the spot that his company should collect information and give a structural analysis of parts of one place, the Square Tower House. Tourists like this site which has the only square building seen among many round ones in the entire park. Alongside is a large kiva that was included in the scanning and getting equipment down to the site from a ledge above was a trial of gymnastics. Computer files of the results can aid field personnel with remote access for researchers and students.
The close-up photos of the work and the area are large and easily identified, compared to my eyes peering across a wide canyon. Anyone interested further in CyArk's work in preserving historic sites around the world will enjoy their website: www.archive.cyark.org.