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The cultural heritage of the former German Region of East Prussia constitutes an integral part of the Polish, Russian and Lithuanian cultural landscape. However, many architectural monuments, including 18th-century palaces and parks, were lost or destroyed in wars or through neglect. Some twenty years after the political turnarounds of 1989/91, they impose particular requirements on (art) history and architectural history research and documentation. They are at the same time a challenge and an opportunity for the Digital Humanities in the economically and culturally heavily weakened border region of the European Union.
The international and interdisciplinary project, Virtual Reconstructions in Transnational Research Environments – the Web Portal: Palaces and Parks in Former East Prussia examines the process of computer-based 3D reconstruction of lost architecture and interior decoration. The project is funded by the Leibniz Association from 2013 to 2016. The preliminary results are based on the digital reconstruction of ruins of two  baroque palaces: Schlodien, or Gładysze, now in Poland, and Friedrichstein, or Каменка, now in the Russian Federation. The results are concerned with indexing of sources, documentation, semantic modelling, and visualization of 3D data sets using WebGL-technology. The focus is on the development of a Cultural Heritage Markup Language (CHML), a human and machine-readable XML Schema for semantic annotation and integration of various meta and paradata, including the labelling of geometrical, material, and light characteristics in the source code.
In addition to the research-based digital reconstruction of both palaces, the project aims to represent the available knowledge and contribute new original research. The content of the knowledge portal under development cross-references research in the area of architecture, art history, history, information technology and knowledge transfer. In the medium term, the project aims to define standards for the web-baseddelivery, e-documentation and presentation of 3D data sets of destroyed architectural landmarks and artworks. A prototype of an open research environment for digital reconstruction has been conceived and designed by the project partners as a scholarly and didactic tool. Since the foundation of the Digital Reconstruction working group, the work is embedded in the Digital Humanities in the German-Speaking Region.

Text from: Herder Institute