July 7, 2018 - No Comments!

New Ancient Art discovered in the Southern US

Stephen Alvarez works in one of the Unnamed Caves. Photo by Alan Cressler

The Ancient Art Archive has been very busy in the Southeast with the Unnamed Caves Initiative. The initiate brings to light significant Southern ceremonial cave art so that the deep art history of the region can be appreciated.

We have completed the initial documentation of what is one of the most significant art caves in the United States. Unnamed Cave 19 is located in the heart of the Southeast. Hundreds of feet of the cave’s ceiling are covered with faded but purposefully drawn 1,500-year-old figures.

The images are all but impossible to see standing in the cave but using high-tech 3D imaging we have brought art that was unknown back to life. The scale of the artwork is difficult to comprehend. There are life-sized anthropomorphic figures, full-sized bears, and birds, a 25-foot-long snake. It is truly a world class location.

Line drawings of figures identified on the ceiling of Unnamed Cave 19

The video below is a fly-through of the 3D model that the Archive has built. Line drawings of the art are superimposed on the ceiling to better visualize their position. This is a very preliminary video. There are thousands of engravings on the ceiling.

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Unnamed Southeastern US cave from Stephen Alvarez on Vimeo.

In order to build that model, the Ancient Art Archive spent over 15 days in the cave this winter shooting more than 14,000 individual images. Those images were then processed in 3D software and from them, we built a high-resolution VR model of the cave. We are now in process of interpreting the data to see what is actually engraved on the ceiling. As you can see from the images, the results have been spectacular so far. The video below lets you know that the modeling itself is less than fun.

Building a 3D cave model from Stephen Alvarez on Vimeo.

The next step will be further analysis of the ceiling images. They are much more complex than the anthropological team that has been studying the cave realized.

One of the missions of the Ancient Art Archive is to preserve places like Unnamed Cave 19 for future generations. To that end, we would like to build educational material from our VR models. Doing this means pulling in special effects experts from the feature film world to make video and VR experiences that are as compelling as the cave itself.

For that and for future analysis we need your help. Please donate to the Ancient Art Archive and help us save the art in places like Unnamed Cave 19.


Published by: Stephen Alvarez in news, Uncategorized

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