British Museum Partners with Google Arts and Culture to Bring Back Mayan Remains

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British Museum opened its door to the public in 1753, and has since been a central figure in the recreational activities of people around the world. Many people tour British Museum to see ancient artifacts and sculptures. Recently, Sir Antony Gormley, a sculptor cum an ex-trustee of the British Museum, attended the unveiling of a digital project in London. British Museum has been on a tie-up with Google Arts and Culture on a project to digitalize and preserve the archived photos of glass plates and casts in the museum taken from Mayan sites in Central America.

The Mayan remains are believed to have been photographed by Alfred Percival Maudslay, a British archeologist, in the 19th century. British Museum was fortunate to receive them in the past from Maudslay, an expert in photographing glass plates in a way, without having to remove or damage the Mayan remains. Presently, the British Museum’s archives of the treasured objects throw light into Mayan civilization and their writing. However, the archival photographs of Mayans have been kept preserved and are not exhibited frequently unlike other fixed displays featured in a private tour British Museum.

The British Museum is now displaying the artifacts via Google Arts and Culture to promote Mayan culture to the Mayan descendants still living in the Americas and over to a wider audience online. The archives have been 3D scanned and uploaded to the online portal to enhance the viewer’s ability to zero-in on the objects and observe them from all angles possible.

Expanding on this further, a curator in the British Museum said that the tie-up with Google is an effort to promote research into the Mayan writing that includes many cryptic symbols and signs. “People will be able to use the digital platforms to read the epigraphy for the first time in many cases,” said Jago Cooper, the curator of the Americas in the British Museum.

You can take a read of the story of the Mayan civilization told from a digital perspective, all thanks to the project. In fact, the curators as well as experts from Google also scanned ‘Stela E’, a 33-foot tall stone sculpture using the photos captured by Maudsley. As part of the tie-up with British Museum, Google Arts and Culture is displaying these Mayan treasures with zero advertisements over the portal and for free.