Field and river

20th International Conference of Ethiopian Studies (ICES20)
Mekelle University, Ethiopia

"Regional and Global Ethiopia - Interconnections and Identities"
1-5 October, 2018

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Aurelie FABIJANEC, School of Architecture of Paris Lavillette / UMR MAP-MAACC 3495 CNRS/MCC, France
Fran├žois GUENA, School of Architecture of Paris Lavillette / UMR MAP-MAACC 3495 CNRS/MCC, France

This paper presents the beginning of an on-going research project that aims to develop a heritage information management system for Ethiopian Rock-Hewn Churches. The proposed digital platform will contain data on the history, preservation and restoration of this cultural heritage. This system will give access to different types of information, thus offering a broad range of complementary data for several purposes and different users. The research project is led by a multidisciplinary team of French researchers: historians, curators, specialists in rock behaviour and painting technique and conservation, architects and computer scientists. For each church, the system will provide a 3D model from which it will be possible to interactively visit the church and to get linked annotations to architectural elements and wall paintings.
These semantic annotations will be architectural and historical data on construction, composition of the churches, symbolic and religious explanations, and also data on the thermal and hygrometric ambient atmosphere inside the church, degradation and explanation of possible causes etc. Thus, the platform will offer a user-friendly tool for locating parts of each church and its paintings, and for providing data on these elements. The platform is intended for several users. It will be used by researchers, teachers and students for studying the history of the churches and wall-painting degradation and for preparing programs of restoration etc. In a more general manner, the platform will be used by any person involved in Ethiopian heritage preservation and valorisation. We will demonstrate the research progress on the first church Maryam Qorqor in the province of Tigray. From this case study we will outline the progress in the development of the information system. More precisely we will describe the 3D reconstruction methodology we have used, the problems we have faced, the chosen solutions and the outcomes.