The archaeological site of Chalcatzingo, in Morelos, Mexico, contains one of the most extensive collections of Middle Formative period (c. 900-500 BC) bas-relief stone sculpture outside of the Olmec Gulf Coast lowlands. The corpus of carved monuments illustrates a developmental sequence that began with symbolic elements and evolved into elite ideological expressions of rulership, power, and authority. These monuments are being recorded in three-dimensions, modeled and openly shared for use by researchers, students, educators, and others. The accuracy and high definition of the resulting measurable and interactive visualizations allows for intensive study and analysis, while minimizing subjectivity. The site and its monoliths are also critically imperiled and have been placed on the World Monuments Fund most endangered list.
Chalcatzingo’s carved monuments have been linked stylistically, compositionally, and contextually to other sculptures created across Mesoamerica during the Middle Formative period. Eighty years of investigation at the site has produced a solid contextual and chronological foundation, a combination that offers an opportunity for both an intra-site and inter-site examination of monumental sculpture and their spatial distribution. Through the application of empirical and measurable evidence, testable models are being built to address key issues of interregional interactions and sociopolitical transformations. Application of developing computer visioning and pattern recognition software programs to the iconographic content and spatial characteristics will permit the identification and quantification of symbolic and contextual similarities and dissimilarities that existed within and between sculptures at sites across the Middle Formative period interaction sphere.
Visit our Sketchfab collection for Chalcatzingo 3D models here.
Monument 1 – El Rey
This monument was scanned as part of a sculpture and landscape documentation project collaborative with USF’s Doering and Collins along with Mario Córdova Tello (Director del Proyecto Chalcatzingo, Morelos), Carolina Meza Rodríguez (INAH) and Omar Espinosa Severino (INAH). USF’s Jorge Gonzalez contributed to the 3D model production.
Olmec/Formative 1000 BC – 200 BC Scanned with phase shift FARO Focus 120X and modeled with Geomagic Studio and Zbrush
Monument 27, also known as The Hunter (El cazador), is a low relief, well-faced carved stela–fractured and broken and showing indications of mutilation. The stela depicts a left-facing walking personage. Along the sides of the stela appear square-shaped areas with wrapped details that frame the central figure but are highly eroded and abraded. The rock itself is unique in its red coloring (possibly from fire treatment) with carving made to create differences in color across the relief. For a complete description of the stela, see: pgs. 129-130 http://www.famsi.org/research/grove/chalcatzingo/grove_ch9.pdf
This model is textured and was laser scanned and imaged using a phase shift instrument and photogrammetry (Collins and Doering 2013). 3D modeling by Collins and final model production by Jorge Gonzalez. Project collaborative with USF Doering and Collins and Mario Córdova Tello (Director del Proyecto Chalcatzingo, Morelos), Carolina Meza Rodríguez (INAH) and Omar Espinosa Severino (INAH).
Monument 31 shows a feline with a beak-like mouth who is holding a human personage facing down with what appears to be entrails extending from the stomach region. The feline has a cloud ( “S” shaped symbol) and what has been interpreted to be three raindrops overhead.
This sculpture was documented with terrestrial laser scanning techniques (Doering, Collins) and 3D modeled using Geomagic and Maya software (Collins and Jorge Gonzalez- final model).
Monument 41 (shown here), was discovered by archaeologists from the National Institute of Archaeology and History in 2011. The 1.5 ton stone relief dates to more than 2,800 years ago, and shows three felines sitting in profile with sky or cloud “S” shaped symbols overhead and to the side.
The relief, standing about 1.5 meters tall, was found broken in 11 pieces and was expertly restored by INAH conservators. Documented with terrestrial laser scanning techniques (Doering, Collins) and 3D modeled using Geomagic and Maya software (Collins and Jorge Gonzalez- final model).