By: Scott Cedarleaf
March 19th, 2010
UNESCO World Heritage Site Tomb of the Buganda Kings Burned in Fire
Scanning the interior of the tomb with Prince James.
Scanning in the courtyard
Merge of the scan data and photography taken on site
On Tuesday March 16th 2010 at 3:52 PM Arizona time, I received a text message from a colleague in Kampala, Uganda, East Africa telling me that the Kasubi Tombs had been set on fire and had burned to the ground. I was not prepared for my response to this news.
It was just over 1 year ago this month that my wife and I traveled to Uganda on our annual trip to visit friends and colleagues in Kampala and rural Uganda. This time however, we came equipped with a 3D laser scanner and support equipment with the intent to scan the Kasubi Tombs. The Kasubi Tombs of the Buganda Kingdom is a UNESCO registered site and also featured as one of the CyArk 500 Challenge sites. What I didn’t know was that this trip and the events leading up to this trip would be so important.
My family has been working with the Uganda people helping in humanitarian efforts supporting orphans and widows of the AIDS virus for several years. During our trips we would take time to see the sites and history of the country and its people and geography. Almost two years prior I met Simon Barnes, then Managing Director of established UK surveying firm Plowman Craven, at a laser scanning coanference in the States. We immediately shared our stories and experiences of Africa and vowed that we would someday work together in Africa. It was through Mr. Barnes that I heard of CyArk. I immediately was intrigued with CyArk, its mission and purpose. Through their support and encouragement I was able to plan the documentation of the Kasubi Tombs.
So on the first week of February 2009 I breezed through Uganda customs with all my gear in tow. Through many phone calls and emails was able to meet Prince James Wasajja at the Kasubi Tombs who patiently listened to my explanation of our intent document the site. In the end Prince James was so interested and accommodating that we were able to perform one day of scanning and photography in equatorial heat, with many questions from curious onlookers. It was a very good day.
Now 13 months later with the news of the devastating fire and destruction of the Kasubi Tombs, I sent an email to Prince James with my condolences and sadness of the news. As the shock of the event passed I also wanted to remind him that we (CyArk) have all the information derived from our visit last year and that we would be available to help in any way. In the email was a link to the Kasubi Tombs site
on CyArk. I received a reply the next day and days following from Prince James himself.
Someday I hope to relay, to anyone interested, the hope in Prince James words after seeing that the data developed by CyArk was intact and available. He has already, just days after the devastating fire, initiated a technical committee to begin planning of the re-construction of the site. CyArk has graciously stepped up to the plate, and at my request has agreed to take the lead in helping to establish communication and transfer of information with Prince James, the King, and Cabinet of the Buganda people.
There is a silver lining to every cloud and I know the road ahead will be difficult and challenging for Prince James. The feeling I get from knowing we were able to do what we did and to now be asked to participate in the re-construction, cannot be described in words; sometimes I wish I was a poet.
A final word: This is what CyArk is all about; preserving, sharing, and now aiding in re-construction, of historical and socially significant sites around the world.
Please contact CyArk today if you would like to help in the effort. Thank You!!
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June 10th, 2010 mulondo joseph said:
am a tour guide at kasubi tombs we want to inform you that the site is still open for all visitors who would wish to pay avisite.
June 23rd, 2010 aldo said:
incredible what can still be found and possibly preserved
January 13th, 2012 afasdggga said:
hope that we can rebuild everything, I'm doing a Social project on them and the tombs seem really interesting.
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