Animation of Long House site, Bandelier National Monument. Courtesy/NPS
Long House site, Bandelier National Monument. Courtesy/NPS
Bandelier National Monument has joined a number of parks in completing 3D laser scans of important archeological sites. At Bandelier, the scans were made of the western half of Long House Pueblo, located along the main trail near the Visitor Center and familiar to thousands of visitors.
The three-year project began with field data collection, consisting of laser scanning of 120 meters of the ground level structures, extending 14 meters up the cliff face. Putting the data to use produced 3D views, as well as planimetric views, ortho-photomosaic elevations and petroglyph analysis.
It has long been known that the Ancestral Pueblo inhabitants of Long House had carved a great number of petroglyphs on the cliffs above the pueblo’s roofline, but most are hard to see due to erosion of the soft tuff stone. The 1-to-3mm resolution of the laser scan, along with advanced modeling techniques, greatly enhanced the visibility of the drawings. The team documented 241 petroglyphs – approximately six times the number that park staff had expected.
The information obtained from the 3D scans was used to develop animations, which depict with comprehensive architectural details, the current condition of the pueblo. This information was then used to make an artist’s visualization of what the village would have looked like at the time the people lived there. The very detailed, and very striking, animations are intended to help visitors, park staff and anyone studying the site, to imagine it more clearly and gain a better understanding of this group of Ancestral Pueblo homes.
Bandelier staff consulted with the park’s affiliated pueblos right from the start of the project, and the results are being shared with them for use in the pueblos’ education programs.
Both animations can be found on the Bandelier website, www.nps.gov/band under History and Culture – Research.