F. Gabellone, G. Scardozzi

(IBAM – CNR, Lecce, Italy)

Purpose: This paper describes research conducted under the aegis of the “Iraq Virtual Museum” project, which entails the publication on the web in the near future of a number of archaeological sites and inestimable treasures of Mesopotamian culture.
The project is being promoted by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (through the general directorate of the Mediterranean/Middle East region, Task Force Iraq), while the scientific coordination has been entrusted to the Italian National Research Council (Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche).

Methodology/Approach: Our contribution, carried out under the aegis of the project, derives from the urgent need to contextualize the objects on show in the virtual museum, linking them not only to their site of provenance, but also to the cultural sphere to which they belong. Until now the research activities of our group have encompassed the sites of Ur, Uruk (the Sumerian Room) and Nimrud (the Assyrian Room). A study has been made of the settlements with the help of satellite images, which have provided new data on the topographical aspects of the cities being studied. In addition, a number of objects that are representative of Assyrian and Sumerian culture (some which have been lost as a result of the recent conflict) have been reconstructed by means of three-dimensional image-based modelling (photo-modelling and digital photogrammetry).

Results: New knowledge on the topography of the sites of Ur, Uruk and Nimrud, obtained thanks to the study conducted with the help of satellite images. 3D modelling of the White Lady and the Vase of Uruk, the Golden Helmet of King Meskalamdug and his Royal Tomb, excavated in Ur in 1927 by L. Wolley. An information film about the Tomb. Insertion of the 3D objects and the information on the sites into virtual visit platforms.

Keywords: Virtual Reality, Virtual Museum, Image-Based Modelling, Remote Sensing.