Friday, October 1, 2010


Mayan archaeology program expands in 2009-2010, adding portable 3D laser scanning technology.

Nicholas Hellmuth

Our major programs in 2010 will be 3D scanning for preservation and documentation of cultural heritage. We are working with companies in Europe and the US to train our staff in Guatemala. FLAAR Mesoamerica will thus be the first local 3D scanning resource center in-situ in Central America (other scanners come down for a few weeks, and then go back to the US or Europe). FLAAR feels that the scanners should also be operated by Guatemalans, both professors and students, so that this technology will not merely belong to US and European institutions.

Three Guatemalan biologists work with FLAAR full-time in-house on staff. They are preparing a list of fruits, vegetables, and animals to 3D scan as well. First will be pataxte and cacao pods, for a research project on Dr Nicholas Hellmuth to document the differences between pataxte form of cacao among the Mayas compared with the normal cacao. Pataxte and cacao pods look similar in some respects but other aspects of their ethnobotany are completely different.

FLAAR works at providing Guatemalan students opportunities to learn new technology, so flew two from Guatemala for training near Boston.


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Panajachel, Lake Atitlan, Guatemala

Panajachel, Lake Atitlan, Guatemala
View of Lake Atitlan and volcano from my apartment balcony in Panajachel. Taken by Catherine Todd June 2008.