Born of Greco-Asian civilizations, Buddhist art in the Gandhara region (Pakistan and Afghanistan) epitomizes an early flowering of global classicism. However, much of this legacy is in jeopardy. The withdrawal of the international forces from Afghanistan has left many early sites unattended. Looting, vandalism, and illegal excavation fueled by potential profitable black-market trade are fast becoming the order of the day.
With the mission of preserving the Buddhist art and architecture in Afghanistan and the surrounding countries through cutting-edge digital technologies, Harvard CAMLab initiated an ambitious project “Digital Gandhara”. This project, supported by archeologists and scholars from Afghanistan, Pakistan, and around the world, aims at digitally documenting and reconstructing the major archaeological sites in the Greater Gandhara region. Through 3D scan, digital modelling, data visualization, machine learning, and multimedia storytelling, this project will create an immersive online world of digital heritages that allows scholars and the general public around the world to have virtual access to the Buddhist sites in Afghanistan and the surrounding area. We hope “Digital Gandhara” can help raise global empathic consciousness on the Afghan cultural heritages and provide an international base of preserving and researching the art and culture of the Gandhara region at Harvard University.