With an average height of 13 feet and weight of nearly 14 tons, the moai of Rapa Nui on Easter Island are among the most remarkable achievements in the world. Carved by, and in honor of, the ancestors and leaders of the Rapa Nui people (the native Polynesian inhabitants of Easter Island) the moai have stood on the island for more than 800 years and have endured the ravages of both natural and manmade threats. Today, the almost 900 moai – and the giant stone platforms, called ahu, that many of them stand on – have been designated a World Heritage site by UNESCO.
Beginning this month, the moai of Rapa Nui will be digitally preserved and protected through a collaboration by CyArk, a nonprofit organization that digitally records, archives and helps preserve world heritage sites, and Iron Mountain Incorporated® (NYSE: IRM), the global leader in storage and information management services. With this collaboration – the first in South America – these monuments to the heritage and culture of the Rapa Nui will live on digitally, archived and available for generations to come as part of CyArk and Iron Mountain’s ongoing commitment to preserving world heritage sites.
This week, a team CyArk will travel to Easter Island to begin the digital capture process to scan the moai, ahu and other endangered archeological sites on the island using 3-D laser and photogrammetry. Those scans, once captured, will be then be rendered by CyArk’s technology team into 3-D imagery that enables the preservation teams at Rapa Nui to better protect and preserve these treasures while also making them virtually accessible to people around the world. Copies of those scans will also preserved on data backup tapes and stored in Iron Mountain’s highly secure underground storage location in Pennsylvania.
“The moai of Rapa Nui are among some of the most remarkable and dramatic monuments in the world, evoking awe and wonder,” said John Ristevksi, CEO, CyArk. “They stand as incredible testaments to the ingenuity and engineering prowess of the Rapa Nui people, who managed to carve, transport and erect these massive statues without the benefit of modern technology. Yet, while they have endured since the 12th century, much like other heritage sites they find themselves endangered by the forces of nature and time. With the completion of this project, we will have a record of these monuments for generations to come, no matter what the future holds.”
Iron Mountain is the sole corporate sponsor of the project through its Living Legacy Initiative, which provides funding and in-kind data storage and protection services to preservation organizations like CyArk. Since 2012, Iron Mountain has supported CyArk’s mission to preserve 500 world heritage sites in five years. To date, CyArk has digitally preserved more than 200 sites on all seven continents, including recent projects in Canada (Toronto’s Fort York, 2017) Taiwan (Lukang Longshan Temple, 2016) and Berlin (Brandenburg Gate, 2015), among others.
“Our support of CyArk and projects like Rapa Nui are the expression of Iron Mountain’s philanthropic focus on, and commitment to, preserving our shared cultural heritage,” said Ary Acuna, country manager for Iron Mountain Chile. “Every day, all over the world, we serve as the trusted guardian for our customers’ most precious assets, and we take that responsibility seriously. Our Living Legacy Initiative enables Iron Mountain to extend that trust into the communities where we live and work all over the globe, helping to ensure that our shared heritage remains preserved and protected for generations to come.”
CyArk is a nonprofit organization founded in 2003 to digitally record, archive and share the world's cultural heritage and ensure that these places continue to inspire wonder and curiosity for decades to come. Since inception we have recorded over 200 monuments on all seven continents. We assist those who work to manage and preserve these sites by providing engineering drawings and detailed maps to assist in critical conservation work and active management. We archive the data using state of the art processes to ensure that this data continues to be available in a disaster recovery scenario, tomorrow or decades in the future. And we strive to share this data in powerful ways, including truly immersive experiences that convey the power of these places, transporting users that may never have a chance to experience them and inspiring others to make the journey.
About Iron Mountain
Iron Mountain Incorporated® (NYSE: IRM) is the global leader in storage and information management services. Trusted by more than 230,000 organizations around the world, Iron Mountain’s real estate network comprises more than 85 million square feet across more than 1,400 facilities in 53 countries dedicated to protecting and preserving what matters most for its customers. Iron Mountain’s solutions portfolio includes records management, data management, document management, data centers, art storage and logistics, and secure shredding, helping organizations to lower storage costs, comply with regulations, recover from disaster, and better use their information. Founded in 1951, Iron Mountain stores and protects billions of information assets, including critical business documents, electronic information, medical data and cultural and historical artifacts. Visit www.ironmountain.com for more information.