A team of Japanese and Pakistani archaeologists has launched a project to record three-dimensional images of antiquities, including Buddhist ruins at a World Heritage site in Pakistan.

Creating 3-D images will aid restoration efforts. The antiquities in question are deteriorating quickly and the Pakistani authorities lack funds to ensure their preservation, the team said.

In July, researchers from institutes including the nonprofit Japanese Centre for South Asian Cultural Heritage, based in Tokyo, and Hazara University took photos of structures, including Buddhist stupas, at the Taxila site in Punjab province.

Taxila is one of the important Gandharan ruins and was a Buddhist learning center from 5 B.C. to the second century. It was put on the UNESCO Cultural Heritage list in 1980.

The team also photographed the rock edicts of King Asoka in Mansehra and petroglyphs in Hunza, both in northern Pakistan.

The photos were sent to Japan and processed into 3-D images by Lang, an information processing company in Iwate Prefecture. Lang made the inscriptions and drawings more clearly visible, the researchers said.

"Precise data will be lost if precious ruins in Pakistan are destroyed by a disaster or other causes," said Atsushi Noguchi of the cultural center. "It is an urgent task to preserve the records."