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Thu Oct 20, 2016, 01:42 AM

Drones and virtual reality combine to recreate mysterious archaeological site

Drones and virtual reality combine to recreate mysterious archaeological site
Nick Lavars
|12 hours ago

The rise of virtual reality has created portals to some truly far-out, futuristic worlds, but some are also exploring how the technology can allow us to peer into the past. With the help of drones, Australian archaeologists are creating a virtual replica of the Plain of Jars, an ancient site littered with mysterious stone jars in Laos, so that inquisitive minds can strap on headsets and explore from afar.

The Plain of Jars stretches over hundreds of square kilometers of green and hilly countryside around the town of Phonsavan, Laos. It takes its name from the large stone jars scattered throughout the area, and has drawn the interest of archaeologists due to the fact that no one really knows how or why they came about.

Researchers from the Australian National University (ANU) and Monash University were looking for a place to test out their new mapping technology, called Cave2, and settled on the Plain of Jars due to a pending application to have it listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Cave2 is a system that takes purpose-shot drone footage and turns it into virtual replicas of archaeology dig sites, by having the drone snap a set of 3D images every 10 cm (3.93 in) and then pumping the data into a digital mould.



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