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Tourists Will Soon Be Able to Augment Mexican Ruins

A new mobile app will bring Mayan ruins back to life using augmented reality.

Historical sites are places of great interest to both archaeologists and tourists, but while professional historians and archaeologists can piece together what an ancient site might have looked like with very few clues, most people don’t have those advantages. Augmented Reality (AR) may help overcome those problems.

Tulum in Mexico is one of the most popular historical locations for tourists to the country. Around 1.5 million people visit the ancient Mayan ruins, which are set on a clifftop overlooking the brilliant blue Caribbean Sea. However, the ruins themselves are heavily restricted due to their extreme fragility. Tourists must keep to particular routes and avoid certain areas to avoid damaging the site, leading to disappointment among some visitors who find it hard to get a sense of what life would have been like for those who lived there.

An AR mobile app seeks to change that. The app will be available for visitors to download, and will include content such as 3D recreations of the main buildings of the Tulum site as well as other images, such as pictures of the long-faded murals inside the buildings and commentary explaining the history and construction of the buildings. The app will also point out where restoration work is ongoing to preserve the site from the humid climate and encroaching plant and animal life.

The app will contain content for the four main buildings of the site; the castle, the Temple of the Descending God, the Temple of Paintings and the Halach Uinic House. It will be available for download in both English and Spanish later in the year.

Recreating historical artefacts and sites in AR or virtual reality (VR) is becoming an increasingly popular way to get the general public more involved with history and archaeology. Such as the recent display of digitally recreated artefacts from the damaged Mosul Meseum in Iraq, or the British Museum displaying several items from their collection to VR users.

VRFocus will continue to bring you news of VR and AR use for archaeological and historical projects.

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