New discovery in Tutankhamun's tomb
New discovery in Tutankhamun's tomb

A team of archaeologists led by former Egyptian minister of antiquities Mamdouh Eldamaty, while conducting a radar survey over the area surrounding Tutankhamun's tomb in the Valley of the Kings, has detected evidence of an additional chamber behind the wall paintings. The theory by Nicholas Reeves, backed in 2015 by Factum Foundation's high-resolution recordings of the tomb, hinted at the possibility of hidden chambers containing Nefertiti's resting place. If verified, the media claims it could be "the biggest archaeological discovery ever". You can find the full article on Nature here.

Find out more about Factum Foundation's work in Tutankhamon's tomb

<i>The Materiality of the Aura. New Technologies for Preservation</i> (Palazzo Fava, Bologna, 12th March - 28th June 2020)
The Materiality of the Aura. New Technologies for Preservation (Palazzo Fava, Bologna, 12th March - 28th June 2020)

On the second floor of Palazzo Fava, as part of the exhibition The Revealed Masterpiece that celebrates the return to Bologna of the Polittico Griffoni, visitors will be able to muse upon and engage with different applications of technology. The exhibition, curated by Adam Lowe, Carlos Bayod Lucini and Guendalina Damone, will explore the role of digital technology and reflect upon an object’s materiality and its “aura”.

The show aims to demonstrate how technologies such as high-resolution 3D scanning and printing, projection mapping, digital restoration and re-creation, display systems and exact facsimiles raise questions about originality and authenticity and create new possibilities for the display of works of art and exhibition design. The aim is to generate public interest, leading to deeper understanding and more effective preservation.
Each of the six rooms will allow the visitor to engage with works of art in new ways, showcasing projects carried out by Factum Foundation since its creation in 2009.

The city of Bologna, where Factum Foundation has been involved in projects since 2010, is the unifying factor tying together many of the rooms: works relating to the Polittico Griffoni, the façade of San Petronio, the landscape map of the Bolognese province from the Sala Bologna in the Vatican will all be presented – together with a new visualisation of another of the city’s most famous works of art.

Visitors will be able to explore Factum Foundation’s approach in a book accompanying the exhibition: ‘The Aura in the Age of Digital Materiality. Rethinking preservation in the shadow of an uncertain future’ (Silvana Editoriale, 2020). The book is a collection of essays looking at a variety of themes revealed by the application of new technologies in cultural heritage: from emerging machine-learning and artificial intelligence to access to digital information and the training of locals to carry out diverse types of digital recording resulting in the effective preservation and sharing of cultural heritage.

Re-materialisation of Raphael's tomb will be on show in Rome
Re-materialisation of Raphael's tomb will be on show in Rome

Factum Foundation is delighted to announce that, as part of the celebrations surrounding the 500th Anniversary of Raphael's death, the major exhibition 'Raffaello' at Scuderie del Quirinale (5th March - 2nd June 2020) will feature a re-materialisation of the painter's tomb.

We thank Scuderie del Quirinale and Ales for the opportunity to carry out the recordings last December, through the use of close range photogrammetry, LiDAR scanning and panoramic photography - with the collaboration of the Italian Ministry of Cultural Heritage.

Facsimile of Djehuty funerary garden has been installed in Luxor
Facsimile of Djehuty funerary garden has been installed in Luxor

The facsimile of the Djehuty Garden, commissioned by the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC) to be part of the protective framework built to safeguard the original in Luxor, has been installed to protect the fragile ancient structure from further erosion.

Dated to circa 2000 BCE, the dawn of the Twelfth Dynasty of Egypt, the mud-brick structure stands as an unprecedented example of an Egyptian garden of this type remaining to this day.

Learn more about the Djehuty Garden


Through the Theban Necropolis Preservation Initiative and the 3D Recording, Archiving and Training Centre at Stoppelaëre House, which received the patronage of the Egyptian National Commission for UNESCO last year, Factum Foundation is committed to scanning every known fragment removed from the tomb of Seti I and provide a secure archiving system to safeguard the data.

Following the high-resolution recording in 3D and colour of the fragments scattered among the British Museum, the Pergamonmuseum, the Archaeology Museums in Florence and Bologna, the Louvre, the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston and various private collections around the world, the 8,000 fragments discovered by the University of Basel in the tomb of Ramesses X are in the process of being recorded through the use of photogrammetry.

We thank the University of Basel, the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities and Florence Mauric-Barberio for their support.

Find out more about this project

Call in for Whitechapel Bell Foundry Planning Application
Call in for Whitechapel Bell Foundry Planning Application

Factum Foundation and Re-Form Heritage are pleased and encouraged by the news that the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, The Rt Hon Robert Jenrick MP, has called in the planning decision on the Whitechapel Bell Foundry.

The historic Whitechapel Bell Foundry is Britain’s oldest single-purpose industrial building where Big Ben, the Liberty Bell, Bow Bells and many of the world’s great bells were made. Developer Raycliff Whitechapel LLP, the current owners, submitted a planning application to convert the site into a boutique hotel and hospitality venue, which Tower Hamlets Development Committee voted to approve in November despite significant concerns about the suitability of the proposal by thousands of individuals and heritage organisations. The call in means that the Raycliff Whitechapel LLP planning application will now be subject to a public inquiry.

A campaign to save the site by reinstating foundry activity in Whitechapel has local, national and international support. A partnership between Factum Foundation and Re-Form Heritage has been formed to deliver a financially viable 21st-century foundry. The partnership draws upon Re-Form Heritage’s experience regenerating unique industrial heritage sites and Factum Foundation’s internationally renowned preservation and training work that merges new technology and craft skills.

Find out more on Factum Foundation and Re-Form Heritage's proposal.

Forthcoming exhibition: Polittico Griffoni at Palazzo Fava in Bologna
Forthcoming exhibition: Polittico Griffoni at Palazzo Fava in Bologna

All 16 paintings that once formed the Polittico Griffoni are being reunited in Bologna for the first time since 1725. It is a great moment for the city and it has taken almost two years to secure the loan agreements from nine institutions. The exhibition will open on 12th March 2020 and will be accompanied by a second exhibition focussing on Factum Foundation’s work to apply technology to preservation is different ways.

Walter Benjamin starts his 1935 essay The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction with a very positive quote written by Paul Valéry (Aesthetics, 1928, “The Conquest of Ubiquity”):
"For the last twenty years neither matter nor space nor time has been what it was from time immemorial. We must expect great innovations to transform the entire technique of the arts, thereby affecting artistic invention itself and perhaps even bringing about an amazing change in our very notion of art.”

The altarpiece was commissioned for the Church of San Petronio and celebrates the life and works of the Valencian Saint Vincent Ferrer. The predella is one of the most complex and obscure narratives depicting his miracles. St Lucy holding her eyes as if they were a pair of lunettes is a highly original depiction of a rather grotesque scene.

Learn more on the recording and re-materialisation of the Griffoni Polyptych.

New recording at the National Galleries of Scotland
New recording at the National Galleries of Scotland

On the 4th and 5th February 2020, a team from Factum Foundation will carry out the high-resolution digitisation in 3D and colour of Old Woman Cooking Eggs by Diego Velázquez at the National Galleries of Scotland, Edinburgh.

Painted between 1618 and 1623 during Velázquez’s early life in Seville, Old Woman is considered one of the most emblematic of the works painted while he lived in his hometown. The digitisation marks the first phase of a wider collaboration between Factum Foundation and CEEH (Centro de Estudios Europa Hispánica) that will culminate in a display and exhibitions project for the new Casa Natal de Velázquez in Seville, which is projected to open in 2021.

Working together with CEEH’s director José Luis Colomer, Factum Foundation will carry out the digital recording of several paintings from the artist’s early years with the aim of producing an ‘exact’ facsimile of each work – a facsimile that will be indistinguishable from the original to the naked eye. The paintings will be scanned using state-of-the-art technology to capture high-resolution relief and colour information of their surfaces. The facsimiles will be made at Factum Arte’s Madrid workshops using the data recorded and employing new technologies combined with traditional artistic and craft techniques. The data will also provide vital documentation about the current conservation state of each recorded work.

Find out more about the Casa Natal de Velázquez

Stoppelaëre House nominated for ICCROM-Sharjah Award 2019
Stoppelaëre House nominated for ICCROM-Sharjah Award 2019

The restoration of the Stoppelaëre House, carried out in 2017 by the Tarek Waly Center with support from Factum Foundation, has been nominated for the ICCROM-Sharjah Award for the Conservation of Cultural Heritage in the Arab region 2019. This Biennial Award seeks to honour and reward outstanding work that contributes to the protection and vitality of tangible cultural heritage in the Arab region. The Stoppelaëre House currently houses the Theban Necropolis Preservation Initiative (TNPI) headquarters in Luxor, working towards its aim to train and equip local actors in the uses of technology to preserve and promote cultural heritage.
Find out more about the project

Bando Lucida 2020 winner announced
Bando Lucida 2020 winner announced

The Assumption of Mary and Saints attributed to the workshops of Sandro Botticelli, in the Monumental Complex of Pilotta in Parma has won the Bando Lucida 2020. The Bando for the analysis through 3d technology of the artwork and its restoration is sponsored by Open Care and Factum Foundation with the support of Euromobiliare Advisory SIM.

Lucida Lab Milano is an extension of the Factum Foundation, dedicated to promoting the application of digital, non-invasive and non-contact modern technology for the preservation of works of art as well as sites of historical and cultural importance.

The studio, directed by Guendalina Damone and Carlos Bayod, was launched through a collaboration between Factum Foundation and Open Care (a Milan-based conservation and restoration laboratory and art services workshop), and is located within its building, in the Open Care Conservation and Restoration Department in Via Piranesi, Milan. The lab is equipped with a Lucida 3D Scanner which is used for a number of projects throughout Italy since late 2014.

Learn more about Lucida Lab

Learn more about Lucida 3D Scanner

Upcoming exhibition: Bakor monoliths at British Museum will tour to Nigeria
Upcoming exhibition: Bakor monoliths at British Museum will tour to Nigeria

Factum Foundation and Carène Foundation are working together with the Trust for African Rock Art (TARA) and the University of Calabar (UNICAL) on a a project aimed at documenting, conserving and raising awareness about the Bakor monoliths.

The upcoming exhibition at British Museum in November 2020 will be traveling to the recording sites in Nigeria and then will be installed in Alok as a permanent display thanks to the generous grant of the Carène Foundation.

Find out more about the Bakor Monoliths

Teaching at Columbia University's GSAPP
Teaching at Columbia University's GSAPP

The Advanced Preservation Technology Studio, taught at Columbia University's GSAPP in collaboration with Factum Foundation, has concluded one more semester with remarkable results.

This year the students employed a range of 3D recording technologies to document specific elements of art and architecture in the Palace and Church of San Giovanni di Malta in Venice. Crossing boundaries between academic and professional practice, the team worked on the digitisation, processing, analysis and reproduction of the obtained data as part of a comprehensive approach to the preservation of this unique building.

The on-site fieldwork was carried out under the supervision of Factum Foundation's experts, operating from the new centre ARCHiVe (Analysis and Recording of Cultural Heritage in Venice) at the Fondazione Giorgio Cini on the island of San Giorgio. The work demonstrated once again the importance of digital preservation, especially in fragile locations like Venice where, as we saw in last November's peak flooding, historic artefacts can suffer tragic damage and change for ever.

Find out more about ARCHiVe

The Auckland Project
The Auckland Project

Factum Foundation is working on an exciting new initiative to bring some of the masterpieces of Spanish art to County Durham, UK. Led by the art collector Jonathan Ruffer, the Auckland Project is working to regenerate large sections of the town of Bishop Auckland.

The fully restored Auckland Castle, for hundreds of years the seat of a powerful bishopric, was opened to the public last month, and is again home to Zurbaran’s famous series Jacob and his twelve sons, bought in 1756 by Bishop Trevor. Factum Foundation has been commissioned by the Auckland Project to create a digital resource and produce facsimiles of other major paintings and sculptural works for display within the new Spanish Gallery – the first museum in the UK to be devoted to Spanish art. Factum is a Spanish foundation and is honoured to be working on this important initiative.

Among the works being rematerialised are Berrugete's masterpiece, the sepulchre for Cardinal Tavera, and El Greco's portrait of Cardinal Tavera. Both works are from the Hospital of Cardinal Tavera in Toledo and are evidence of the close collaboration between the Fundación Casa Ducal de Medinaceli, the Auckland Project and Factum Foundation.

El Greco's tabernacle has also been recorded and a digital restoration is underway. One of El Greco's few sculptures was housed in a gilded architectural construction that was paraded through the streets of Toledo. The digital reconstruction uses the material evidence available and historical research to reconstruct the theatrical impact of this dynamic sculpture.

Have a look at the digital reconstruction of El Greco’s Cristo resucitado and its tabernacle.

Photogrammetry training with two students from Saudi Arabia in collaboration with RCU and Art Jameel
Photogrammetry training with two students from Saudi Arabia in collaboration with RCU and Art Jameel

In November 2019, two students from Saudi Arabia, Jawharah Albalawi and Abdulrahim Sugair, started a two-week photogrammetry training in Factum Foundation’s headquarters in Madrid. The training was the second step of a collaborative project between Factum Foundation, Art Jameel, and the Royal Commission of AlUla (RCU).

It was conducted by Factum’s 3D expert Otto Lowe and Art Jameel's senior programme manager for heritage, Fatima Mazeh, who spent two weeks in the town of AlUla in 2018, teaching a group of fifteen residents how to record cultural heritage. The local students were first taught of the core concepts and technical processes behind photogrammetry and were then able to practically apply this knowledge to the recording of three different petroglyph sites in the vicinity of AlUla.

The purpose of the training in Factum’s workshops was for the two alumni to build on what they learnt in 2018.

This course in Madrid aimed to teach them the more complex elements of photogrammetry so that they could return to AlUla and teach fellow Saudi nationals how to record cultural heritage using the techniques. This will enable them to create a local team with the knowledge, skills and experience to responsibly safeguard their cultural heritage, in line with the RCU's Cultural Manifesto and overall plans to welcome the world to AlUla in October 2020.

Facsimiles of two Lamassu from the north-west palace of Ashurnasirpal II in Nimrud have been donated to the University of Mosul by Factum Foundation and the British Museum
Facsimiles of two Lamassu from the north-west palace of Ashurnasirpal II in Nimrud have been donated to the University of Mosul by Factum Foundation and the British Museum

On 24th October, exact facsimiles of two lamassu statues (Assyrian protective deities in the form of human-headed winged lions) have been presented at the University of Mosul by Factum Foundation and the British Museum, with the logistical support of the Spanish Ministry of Defense, the Iraqi Government and the financial support of the Rijksmuseum van Oudheden. The project was managed by Ali Aljuboori, the director of the centre for Assyrian studies at the University of Mosul.

In 2004, Factum Arte (before the formation of Factum Foundation in 2009) recorded the original statues at the British Museum. They were taken to London in 1848/1849 by Sir Austin Henry Layard. They are guardians that ensured no evil presence entered the building and were placed at places of significance. The entrance to the main University building is in front of the University’s Central Library where over one million books and manuscripts were burnt in 2017.

All parties hope that the installation of the facsimiles of the two lamassu in the University of Mosul will be seen as a new approach to sharing cultural heritage that has been made possible by Factum’s mix of technology and craftsmanship. A sign of hope that will be followed by a significant transfer of skills and technology that has been agreed between Ali Aljuboori and Adam Lowe, the founder of Factum Foundation. The training initiative has also received the support of Dr. Adel Mustafa Kamel, the ambassador for the Republic of Iraq in Madrid and Juan José Escobar Stemmann, the Spanish ambassador in Iraq and other important figures working on the preservation of Iraq’s heritage. High-resolution recording in 3D and colour, the production of exact facsimiles and digital restorations can never replace the Assyrian carvings that were destroyed in Nimrud and at the Museum in Mosul but they can play an important role in keeping their memory alive and in sharing their cultural and political significance.

The Xingu Sacred Cave of Kamukuwaká <br> An emergency forum on indigenous cultural heritage in the Brazilian Amazon
The Xingu Sacred Cave of Kamukuwaká
An emergency forum on indigenous cultural heritage in the Brazilian Amazon

On the 18th and 19th of October 2019, Factum Foundation hosted an event at its workshops in Madrid to launch the facsimile of the restored sacred cave of Kamukuwaká, located just outside the Xingu Indigenous Territory, Mato Grosso, Brazil. Representatives from the Wauja people, the singer Akari Waurá and his son Yanumakakuma, the Kuikuro, the filmmaker Takuma Kuikuro, and from the Krenak of Minas Gerais, the activist and spiritual healer, Shirley Krenak, as well as the non-indigenous archaeologist Mafalda Ramos, travelled to Madrid to tell the story of the cave and its contemporary significance at a time of unprecedented threats to indigenous populations and land.

The event was a celebration of the collaborative endeavour that brought about the facsimile of the cave, an opportunity to explore what it represents for the culture and traditions of Xingu - brought to life by Akari's songs relating to the cave and his recounting of its myths - and a moment to reflect on the next stages of the project. This latter aspect took place over the course of a day of discussions held between the main participants of the project and a public audience. Two themes emerged through the stimulating debates: first, the need to ensure that the facsimile, with its potent message about the role of indigenous communities in protecting the environment, reaches an international audience; second, that it reaches its final destination of Xingu, for it to continue its role of transmitting ancestral knowledge to future generations.

Read more about the project here, or watch the film here. You can also listen to a BBC Radio 4 podcast, 'An Orchestra of the Rainforest', following the collaboration of Factum's Nathaniel Mann with the singer Akari Wauja, here.

Next year at the British Museum: new exhibition on the Bakor Monoliths
Next year at the British Museum: new exhibition on the Bakor Monoliths

Coinciding with the fiftieth anniversary in November 2020 of the ‘UNESCO 1970 Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transport of Ownership of Cultural Property’, Factum Foundation is collaborating on an exhibition at the British Museum focused around the Bakor monoliths, also known as the ‘Cross River’ or ‘Ikom’ monoliths.

One of the most unique expressions of African art, the Bakor monoliths and their sites have suffered deeply through fire, theft and neglect in the decades since the Biafran Civil War of the late 1960s, which engulfed the region in which they are found in eastern Nigeria. Since 2016, Factum Foundation has collaborated with the Trust for African Rock Art and the University of Calabar to document and preserve the monoliths on-site and in international collections using cutting-edge 3D scanning technologies. The exhibition will feature the results of this collective endeavour, including 1:1 facsimiles of monoliths that were removed from the country and other documentary materials.

Following the conclusion of the exhibition at the British Museum, it will travel to be displayed within Nigeria, finally returning to the Bakor region where it will promote the ongoing conservation of the monoliths and their sites in a permanent display.”

Find out more

The recording of Raphael’s Cartoons at the V&A
The recording of Raphael’s Cartoons at the V&A

In August 2019, a team of 3D recording and high-resolution panoramic photography specialists from Factum Foundation carried out the recording of the Raphael Cartoons at the V&A, which have been loaned by Her Majesty The Queen from the Royal Collection. This project was one of Factum Foundation’s most ambitious digitisation works undertaken to date.

Over a period of five weeks, three teams worked around the clock to digitise the 115 sqm of the Cartoons' surface, recording the Cartoons in colour, infra-red and 3D at a resolution of up to 10,000 points/cm2. On any one day in August, up to four Lucida 3D scanners were to be found at work in the galleries, poised on scaffolding three metres above the ground, and by night the space was lit up by the flash of hundreds of photographs. It was a project which required meticulous planning and recording innovations to suit the specific requirements of the artworks, as well as close coordination with the teams from the V&A, Royal Collection Trust and Momart.

Over the coming months, the data will be processed in Factum Foundation's Madrid workshops: hundreds of overlapping 3D scans will be stitched together, and the datasets for colour and 3D will be merged to produce multi-layer records of the seven Cartoons.

The results will set new standards for cultural heritage documentation, allowing these masterpieces of Renaissance art to be seen up close as never before.

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