World Heritage Sites: Africa is a versatile collection of more than 86,000 objects of visual, contextual, and spatial documentation of African heritage and rock art sites.

World Heritage Sites illustration

This collection aids researchers in African studies, anthropology, archaeology, architecture, art history, geography, history, and literature, as well as those focused on geomatics, historic preservation, urban planning, and visual and spatial technologies. It is a comprehensive tool for museums, libraries, NGOs, and government organizations engaged in the conservation and management of cultural heritage sites.

World Heritage Sites: Africa was developed in collaboration with scholars and institutions across Africa, Europe, and North America, with generous support from the Mellon Foundation and the Arcadia Fund. It offers more than 86,000 objects in 30 sub-collections, providing visual, contextual, and spatial documentation of African heritage sites.

Spatial data, obtained through laser scanning and photogrammetry, satellite remote sensing, GPS surveying, and conventional surveying, includes:

  • 3D models and plans of grounds, structures, and surrounding landscapes
  • Façade views of structures
  • Geographic information systems (GIS)
  • Stereo, digital, and panorama images
  • Digital video

Contextual data includes site-related scholarly research such as:

  • Site plans, diagrams, and maps
  • Excavation reports
  • Photographs and slides
  • Manuscripts and books
  • Previously unpublished private and national archives
  • Archaeological and ethnographic field notes
  • Personal journals and travelers’ accounts from the 17th century to the 19th century
  • Trade logs

Collection highlights

Selected sub-collections include the Heinz Rüther Collections from the University of Cape Town, the Kilwa Archive from the British Institute in Eastern Africa (BIEA), and the Smithsonian Heritage Collection.