>> Ancient Mayan culture is being brought into the digital era.>> I'm David Doyle reporting to you from some virtual playing field with ancient Mayan artifacts. At least, that's what it looks like to me. But this is in fact the British Museum, where a partnership with Google is being launched.
>> The Google Maya project uses cutting edge technology to digitally preserve thousands of Mayan artifacts. In order to bring them out of their storage crates in London to a new global audience.>> This is the first project of its kind for Google Arts and Culture to be focused on the digital documentation of cultural heritage using technology which includes 3D laser scanning, photogrammetry, 360 degree panoramic street view captures from Mayan sites throughout Guatemala.
And then putting them online to share with people from around the world in 3D.>> The musuem's collection was created by British explorer, Alfred Mosley, who traveled to the Guatemalan jungle in the late 1800s. His mission was to document the mighty Mayan civilization that thrived in Central America for thousands of years.
And he was, himself, a technological pioneer. Using what was then innovative plate glass photography techniques to capture these images. Those photographs and casts he made of Mayan monuments, have been held in storage for more than 100 years. Now available to researchers and the public in the form of an extensive digital archive, augmented reality art pieces, and 3D printed monoliths.
>> Just here is Stella E, and that is a print. And it is a composite of of 31 casts that we have in the stores. So we scanned 31 individual casts which is about this size, recreated the original monument, and now we can print it out. And that is the best preserved example of that monument.
In real life, that is 33 feet tall.>> Many of the objects Mosley documented have since suffered environmental or human induced damage. But through tech like this, ancient civilizations can be elevated to a form of digital immortality.