Reconstructing the Past: 3D Printing the Ruins of Pumapunku

Friday, July 17, 2015 - 9:00am to Friday, September 18, 2015 - 5:00pm

Tiwanaku (500-1000 AD), the monumental capital of a pre-Colombian society that rose and fell half a millennium prior to that of the Inca Empire, was completely in ruins when the first Europeans arrived in the sixteenth century. But today, as the icon of modern Bolivia, it is a popular destination for visitors and dignitaries from around the world.

The most impressive temple at the ruins is Pumapunku, the Gateway of the Puma, a jumble of huge and beautifully cut stone. The project featured in this exhibit used the technology of 3D printing to accurately replicate tons of broken architecture in a size and format suitable for testing possible reconstructions. Led by Professors Charles Stanish and Alexei Vranich of the Cotsen Institute of Archaeology at UCLA, they, along with their team of undergraduate students, spent the better part of a year modeling, printing, and hypothesizing the reconstruction of Pumapunku. Working in conjunction with UCLA Library, the team then used the Library's 3D printer to create an exhibit showcasing the work that went into this project.



Research Library (Charles E. Young)