Rock Art Portal

The Rock Art Portal is an ongoing PhD research project by Stephen Wessels, supervised by John Parkington, at the University of Cape Town. The project seeks to combine cutting edge spatial documentation techniques with archaeological data to create an immersive 6DoF VR experience of the sites. This project has grown out of Stephen's experience of spatially documenting heritage sites with the Zamani Project since 2007.

Reality Capture software is used to create digital twins of rock art shelters and all spatial data capture and processing techniques are designed with this software in mind where the aim is to recreate hyper-realistic virtual environments at a resolution striving to match the real world. The portal is created in Unreal Game Engine where all elements of the generated virtual environment are combined with navigation and interaction for a unique educational experience.

Goals of the Portal

Preservation, education and awareness of rock art in the Cederberg


Digital preservation

Record rock art sites spatially and photographically to the highest resolution possible.  The human eye can see 40 microns, the width of a hair. The ultimate aim is to reach this level of detail, and then go beyond.


Add contextual information

Create the portal to incorporate all gathered data including contextual information about the sites. Create virtual guided tours of sites. Use game engine software to program interaction and exploration. 


Public VR experience

Share the portal online and in public accessible locations such as museums and visitors centres. Use the portal for education and to create awareness in an exciting immersive virtual environment.