(1 Soprintendenza ai Beni Archeologici della Basilicata / 2 Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche – IBAM, Lecce, Italy)

Abstract: The results of this work are inside a project related to the virtual visit to the Greek colonies of Herakleia and Metaponto. It was promoted by the “Soprintendenza ai Beni Archeologici della Basilicata”, in order to offer multimedia products and pathways of knowledge that articulate from the remains visible on the ground surface to the digital reconstruction proposals. This work is done in 2007 with the publication of an interactive CD-ROM to be installed inside the National Museum of Metaponto, but this experience continues today, thanks to a continuous review of 3D models recalculated with modern photo-realistic rendering algorithms.

Metaponto since 1964 has been the subject of intensive archaeological research. Excavations and extensive studies have allowed us to identify and delineate the ancient town planning, from it  foundation in the 17th century B.C. until the Roman conquest and the subsequent gradual abandonment in late imperial age. The abundance of recovered materials documenting the peculiarities of local artisan production, the variety of architectural decorations engaged in major public buildings of the sanctuary and agora and the Mediterranean dimension of trade. There are few equals in quantity and quality of data in the landscape of the Greek colonies of southern Italy. Despite missing the third dimension, as in most of the archaeological sites and visibility on the ground is often reduced to a few structural elements such small traces that create complex layouts. The virtual visit of the ancient Metaponto was based on this premises and it is developed in relation to the methods concerning the reconstructive archeology, now widely accepted by the scientific community. The main purpose of the virtual visit is to provide information, not only on what is directly comprehensible by a direct visit of the monuments, but also and especially on those items that are difficult to understand.

Each reconstructive hypothesis is aimed to enhance the educational value of archaeological items and, at the same time, responds to the need to make this understandable to the general public.

Through a systematic study of past and present documents, traced in a transparent and intelligible way, this experience of virtual archeology intends to give to the public the interpretation results with the highest possible scientific rigor. Also in an attempt to provide an updated point of view about its ancient appearance, with the use of highest unbiased rendering engine.

Keyword: Virtual reconstruction, unbiased render, scientific transparency, 3D