We recently visited Vietnam for a holiday and had the chance to visit the My Son UNESCO Heritage site. This site consists of a group of Hindu temples constructed to worship the god Shiva and located in central Vietnam.
My Son is a beautiful site that unfortunately also suffered partial destruction during the war. Today parts of My Son have been restored and 3D models of the various buildings have been created.
These articles written by teams that worked on the reconstruction of the My Son temples give a lot of details about the process:
- 3D survey and virtual reconstruction of archeological sites: This paper discusses the process (in a lot of detail) of creating archaeological 3D models by applying the process to a number of temples at My Son. The 3D models allowed for an accurate documentation of the state of the site before reconstruction. These also served as a good starting point for the reconstruction process, which was based on first creating some reconstruction models. The article adds a nice diagram representing the process followed for the reconstruction of one of the temples, I’ve added the diagram below:
- Digital Reconstruction of an Archaeological Site Based on the Integration of 3D data and historical sources: This is an article by the same writers as the previous bullet point regarding the same project. It discusses the same information (it even uses the same diagrams).
- Photogrammetric Reconstruction of the My Son “G1” Temple in Vietnam:This article, written by a different team, focuses on the reconstruction of one of the many temples found at My Son. The team couldn’t use lasers like the other team due to various limitations. They therefore decided to use photogrammetry to map the site. The models differ quite significantly between the two techniques if one looks at the images added in both articles.
In addition to these articles, I found that the Vietnamese Goethe Institut has held an event before to show the use of 3D modeling for museums and exhibitions. They have done this by creating a virtual tour through My Son and other Vietnamese historical buildings, such as the temple of literature. Funnily enough I am starting German lessons at the South African Goethe Institut in a few days and suddenly I found this information. Maybe they host such interesting events here too.
When we were at My Son we walked past some buildings that were still under restoration. These 3D models are probably still serving as a good base for restoration. It was interesting to see the different stages of the process. We saw buildings still covered in vegetation (they are very difficult to spot), buildings still under restoration, completely restored buildings and some some buildings that partially survived the war.
Here is a photograph of our trip to My Son. The small me on the left can serve as some sort of scale, though I am a bit on the short side, so not a very good scale.
I hope that this post gets some archaeologists excited about visiting the beautiful country of Vietnam.