[WATCH] Scientists create 3D computer model of hypogeum

A computer model of the underground Neolithic structure will help predict how air flows in the site, giving scientists the ability to forecast temperature and humidity levels

3D computer model of the hypogeum underground complex showing predicted humidity levels
3D computer model of the hypogeum underground complex showing predicted humidity levels

Scientists have developed a 3D computer model of the Ħal Saflieni hypogeum that is capable of predicting how air flows inside the subterranean network of chambers and passageways.

The model developed by the researchers from the University of Malta can be used to investigate how external factors, such as the presence of people or the change in the ventilation system, can affect temperature and humidity levels that contribute to the deterioration of the site.

The model will allow researchers to study the impact of any planned interventions without having to carry out on site experiments.

The hypogeum dates back to the period between 4,000 and 2,500 BC. It is a World Heritage site and consists of a network of inter-connected chambers and passageways. It was discovered towards the beginning of the 20th Century.

An extensive restoration process took place a few years ago and access to the site by visitors is controlled to avoid deterioration of the structure.

In the latest initiative to study the underground facility, a multidisciplinary team from the University developed the 3D computer model.

The effort was led by Pierre-Sandre Farrugia, a physicist within the Department of Geosciences, together with Denis Cutajar and Alfred Micallef, a science professor, who is also a member of staff within the same department.

The study was carried out in collaboration with Heritage Malta.

The work has been accepted for publication in the Journal of Cultural Heritage, a prestigious international journal dedicated to techniques involved in the conservation of cultural heritage.

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