When the Taliban destroyed the Bamiyan Buddhas in Afghanistan, a laser-scanning project began to digitally preserve worldwide cultural heritage sites. It’s arrived at the corbelled houses of the Karoo
Words and Pictures: Steve Moseley
It was in the vast emptiness of Karoo scrublands on a sub-zero morning that I first met Bob and Herman. Standing motionless, they seemed unaffected by the icy wind, unlike the rest of us. I admired them from close up. They looked the same, wore matching colour combinations and had a similar mien but, to be honest, seemed somewhat lacking in personality.
Their only movement was a smooth turn of the head as they eyed the surroundings with a penetrating gaze. Neither said a word, but for a continuous hum emanating from somewhere inside them. They were, for all intents and purposes, identical twins. “We’ll just let them boot up and calibrate and we’re good to go,” said Carl Grossmann, chairman of the African Conservation Trust (ACT).
Bob and Herman are two high-tech laser scanners belonging to the University of Kwazulu-Natal, and named after two late professors of the institution. Carl and his team were using them to scan some of the unique beehive-shaped corbelled houses that only occur in remote locations around Loxton, Carnarvon, Williston and Fraserburg. Constructed entirely of flat stones, these buildings were the homes of farming pioneers who ventured into this treeless area during the 1800s.
The story continues in the January 2015 edition of Country Life. Below is a selection of the most impressive images Steve Moseley included in his tale.