An anthropology professor at Mount Allison University has spearheaded a project with a goal of preserving the past.

Grant Aylesworth is using digital images and special 3D software to uncover the inscriptions on historic headstones in the Fort Gaspareaux National Historic Site.

“We take six to eight photos, under the same kind of constant lighting conditions, from slightly different angles, and then put them into a software program that stitches them together and makes a 3D photo model of the tombstone,” explains Aylesworth.

“From there, we put it into a couple of other software programs that bring out the contours, the relief at a very minute detail, and we can highlight that relief and that brings out the writing that is not necessarily visible to the naked eye.”

Aylesworth says one of the goals of the ongoing project is to involve others. He says anyone with a camera can help to document the history of the region.

“From here, we would like to continue working on refining the technique and making it a little bit simpler and have a series of meetings around the province and let people know how they can do this themselves,” says Aylesworth.

Thaxter Johnson Jr. was born in Port Elgin. He says he knows the Fort Gaspareaux National Historic Site like the back of his hand.

“When we were little kids, you could actually make out the names on the headstones. You could read them,” says Johnson.

“I think this is very important because if you look at how the Americans do it, we are a long ways behind them. It is important to all of us, really.”

Aylesworth hopes more people feel the same way and will get involved with the project.

With files from CTV Atlantic's David Bell