CyArk is a website founded by Ben and Barbara Kacyra that attempts to preserve sites of historical or cultural significance. This project arose out of the founders recognition that due to a variety of factors, including climate change, urban development, conflict, etc., heritage sites were being lost and destroyed at an alarming rate. In order to prevent the complete loss of these sites to history, the CyArk project works by assisting those in conservation efforts by keeping records of sites, and on the website directly, sharing and displaying these sites using mostly 3D modeling.

The sources documented on the website can be sorted by time period (ranging from 1000 BCE to the present), as well as the media type, including 3D reconstructions, virtual tours, videos, VR projects, or even lesson plans. For some of the virtual tours and videos available for sources, digital guides are available, which are virtually led by experts, such as archaeologists. These tours and reviews are sometimes given in languages like Spanish, providing alternate resources for non-English speakers. The VR projects are self-guided in comparison, such as the MasterWorks showcase, where users can tour 4 locations throughout human history with guidance from scientists and archaeologists, as they interact with virtual artifacts and information.

The website also includes lesson plans on broad subjects like how to interpret and use 3D reconstructions. A helpful feature of these lesson plans are their notation of grade level, exact subject area, and type of lesson plan (meaning student activity, project, or computer-based models). Finally, the website displays case studies, showing who has worked with CyArk on these 3D reconstructions, and how the reconstructions have been used.

Not all of the sources and reconstructions on the website are ancient history remains. Some of them are more modern constructions, such as the Washington Monument or the Stonewall National Monument. All however are relevant to the study of world history, and can be useful for students looking to connect the past with things that have significance in the present.

Reviewed by Carolyn Mason, George Mason University
How to Cite This Source
Carolyn Mason, CyArk in World History Commons,