A team of archaeologists from Kemerovo State University in Russia has created a 3D model representing part of the Tepsei archaeological site as a part of ongoing studies on the location.

Located in the Minusinsk Basin, near the southern part of Siberia, the Tepsei site covers more than 27 square kilometers of land, including Mount Tepsei that towers at about 630 meters (2066.93 feet), and the river valley that runs at its feet. Archaeologists are conducting studies on the site to understand better the culture and history surrounding the site.

With this project, researchers aim to provide an accurate image of what ancient southern Siberia looks like in terms of the gradual changing of its cultures, the migration routes taken around the areas, and the different historical points when the valley saw its beginning its settlements.

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Generating a 3D Virtual Model of a Tepsei Site Section

The Kemerovo State University team collaborated with specialists from the Russian RSSDA Laboratory, based in Moscow. Their work resulted in the 3D model of one of the Tepsei site clusters. As a comprehensive and accurate recreation of the site, the virtual model illustrates the exact location of important stone slabs, burial stones, and other sites where pieces of rock art have been discovered. It also includes the different excavation sites over the years and is expected to draw the Tepsei cluster's boundaries.

To turn this 3D virtual model into a reality, researchers used the latest technology over extended periods of time to gather data, survey the site, and generate a database to describe the significant findings in the Tepsei cluster.

The team now used 3D modeling and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) to conduct a visual inspection of the site. They also employed a Garmin GPS device in recording the surfaces. Researchers marked each site on Google Maps, noting where the largest clusters of petroglyphs were found, and identified locations that required additional on-site studies.

The visual references, according to the university's press release, is nearing completion. Researchers have already copied and cataloged the prehistoric art found in the river valley at the foot of Mount Tepsei, as well as two ravines. Two additional expeditions, launched in July and September this year, further completed the required inspections with aerial surveys and mappings - using drones for hard-to-reach areas. The team has also completed 3D recreations for fifteen rock art surfaces.

Mount Tepsei: Home to an Ancient Siberian Civilization

The Tepsei region first attracted the Kemerovo State University Department of Archaeology's attention in the 1980s, shortly after a team of archaeologists led by Dr. B.N. Pyatkins discovered the cave art in the region after exploring local petroglyphs. Almost half a decade later, in 1995, the Tepsei rock art became the subject of a collaborative study between French and Russian researchers, respectively led by Yakov Sher and Henry-Paul Frankfor.

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In the early 2010s, Kemerovo State University revisited the site for another series of expeditions in uncovering its secrets. Under the leadership of Olga Sovetova, Director of the Institute of History and International Relations at the university.


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