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Preserving Ukrainian Legacy

“Preserving Ukrainian Legacy” is a collaborative project of our team from Ukraine and CyArk, a non-profit organization from the USA, whose mission is to unlock the power of 3D technology to make the world's cultural heritage accessible to new audiences and future generations. This project was created to preserve and disseminate Ukrainian cultural heritage through digital protection and preservation of archaeological artifacts, especially in the challenging and grim times of war. 

The "Preserving Ukrainian Legacy" project received support from the U.S. Department of State through the Embassy Fund Program for Cultural Protection and was developed to provide comprehensive training, equipment, and additional resources to three museums: the National Reserve "Khortytsia," the Dnipro National Historical Museum named after D.I. Yavornytsky, and the National Museum of the History of Ukraine.


The project for preserving Ukrainian heritage is entering its final stage: most planned artifacts have already been digitized. Now, we will publish them internationally to share the richness of our cultural heritage with the world and increase the accessibility of these valuable resources for researchers and enthusiasts worldwide. This is an important step in preserving and popularizing the cultural heritage of Ukraine, which will contribute to its recognition and study in the future.


Delving into the archives of the Khortytsia National Reserve, the Dnipro National Historical Museum, and the National Museum of the History of Ukraine, we explored a wide range of artifacts: from Upper Paleolithic art to 19th-century shipwrecks, employing various methods to examine objects that, in some cases, had been concealed for nearly a century. While the Eneolithic Trypillian culture's painted vessels and female figurines have gained recognition within the global academic community, many unique artefacts have yet to be fully discovered and appreciated. Noteworthy among these are the exquisite Upper Paleolithic ivory figurines from Mizyn, excavated in the early 20th century, and the decorated anthropomorphic stelae from the Eneolithic and Bronze Age. Despite their significance and previous scholarly attention, these artefacts have seldom been represented in 3D or examined from a digital perspective.


This process was preceded by intensive team training. In November 2023, twelve representatives from the three participating museums and the "Archaїc" group traveled to Krakow to gain crucial hands-on training with the equipment and review 3D documentation methods. The whole week has been devoted to photogrammetry and its application to cultural heritage preservation — from the very basics down to the tricks of a trade. The training took place at the Collegium Maius of the Jagiellonian University in Krakow (Poland), and our team is extremely grateful to the Polish side for the hospitality and the opportunity to work with the objects of cultural heritage stored in the university's funds. 

The purpose of the training, mastered by CyArk, was not just to show the participants which button to press but to increase the overall capacities of Ukrainian institutions to effectively transfer knowledge on the digital preservation of cultural heritage and increase their capacities to provide changes in the field. With all this, we expect to bring the highest cultural heritage 3D digitization standards to Ukrainian archaeology and spread it across the country.

Once the training was over, all participants returned home with the generously donated equipment to start digitizing the top priorities of each museum participant.


An overview of the photogrammetric kit

Besides the success of the training events, we are delighted to get to know each other as a group, where each participant added a pinch to the new collective and contributed to our mutual archaeological experience — the one we all wish to have these days.


The “Preserving Ukrainian Legacy” team was formed after working on mistakes and reflecting on our pilot project, "3D History for Ukraine". We then managed to enlist the support of the World Archaeological Congress and the Heritage Media Group and organized a two-day online conference to collect donations for digitization equipment.

Using the lessons of our first project, we began to cooperate with CyArk, and this is how the idea of ​​creating the "Preserving Ukrainian Legacy" initiative was born.

The team for this project was formed based on an open competition for young scientists. We were looking for people capable of communicating in English and mastering new software and equipment, as well as being open to transdisciplinary experience in digital archaeology and cultural heritage research. 

The tireless work of our team has made this project a reality, and the results of our activities are now accessible on our social networks and website!