Digital archaeology represents the natural evolution of classical archaeology, permitting researchers to look at ancient objects in a whole new way, to uncover hidden inscriptions, invisible paint lines, the faintest palimpsests. . . and to share these discoveries with the world. Beyond that, as the Million Image Database demonstrates, it can put these crucially important repositories of our cultural identity and shared history forever beyond the reach of those who would destroy them.
The Institute for Digital Archaeology (IDA) is a joint venture between Harvard University, the University of Oxford and Dubai Future Foundation that promotes the development and use of digital imaging and 3D printing techniques in archaeology, epigraphy, art history and museum conservation.
Further, through partnerships with institutions across the globe, the IDA creates accessible digital archives that encourage interdisciplinary collaboration and the crowd-sourcing of research.
Whether searching the rubble of Herculaneum or the dark corners of the Vatican Library, the IDA has the tools and human resources to help record and preserve new discoveries. Finally, through its pioneering use of large-scale 3D printing technology, the IDA carries out meticulous and culturally sensitive restorations of objects and architecture destroyed by conflict or natural disaster.