Ukrainian-Swedish Collaboration: A Technological Leap in Preserving St. Sophia Cathedral’s graffitis

Ukrainian-Swedish Collaboration: A Technological Leap in Preserving St. Sophia Cathedral’s graffitis

Ukrainian heritage

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The graffitis adorning the walls of St. Sophia Cathedral in Kyiv (Ukraine), totaling more than 7,500 pieces dating from the 11th to the early 18th centuries, is set to be safeguarded through a pioneering digital preservation effort. The project aims to meticulously document these historical markings using cutting-edge techniques like laser scanning, photogrammetry, and reflectance transformation imaging.

The project is joined by CHARTER Alliance partner Gunnar Almevik, University of Gothenburg, along with Jonathan Westin, in collaboration with Saint Sophia Cathedral museum and the National Museum of Ukrainian History. The Swedish team shared their knowledge to their Ukrainian counterparts, fostering an exchange of expertise crucial for the endeavor’s success. Despite the labor-intensive nature of the digital documentation process, the team is on track to complete the initial phase of the project by year’s end.

Once completed, the 3D models of the graffiti will find a secure home on servers located in both Ukraine and Sweden, ensuring accessibility to scholars, researchers, and the wider public. This initiative not only underscores the enduring partnership between the two nations in the realm of cultural heritage preservation but also represents a pivotal step towards showcasing Ukraine’s rich historical legacy on the global stage.

Nelia Kukovalska, the general director of the National Conservation Area, emphasizes the significance of leveraging state-of-the-art technologies for preserving cultural heritage, especially during tumultuous times. Likewise, Fedir Androshchuk, director of the National Museum of History of Ukraine, underscores the project’s broader mission of not just conservation, but also international presentation of Ukraine’s cultural treasures.

You can learn more on the first steps here.

Picture credit: Department of Conservation, University of Gothenburg

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