Francesca SOGLIANI1 / Francesco GABELLONE1 / Ivan FERRARI1 / Luigi CRIMACO2

(1Istituto per i Beni Archeologici e Monumentali, CNR, Lecce / 2Museum of Mondragone Italy)

Outline: Main objectives of this research were related to the use of the huge archive derived from the archaeological activities, interesting one of the most important mediaeval castle of northern Campania (Italy), aimed to reconstruct with new technologies the original shape and the life of this settlement. Moreover, the application of 3D virtual technology has been developed to the best promotion, knowledge, protection and conservation of this particular item of cultural medieval heritage. .

The fortified settlement of Rocca Montis Dragonis (Caserta) is located on the top of Mount Petrino, between the river Liri-Garigliano, to the north, and the river Volturno to the south. From 2001 until now, archaeological investigations discovered a big part of the entire settlement, known on written sources from 12th century, which is a big size hilltop site, characterized by a complex group of structures hierarchically distributed in three different areas. The main focus of this work is to produce friendly communication tools, aimed to develop storytelling, by Virtual Reality methods. concerning the results of recent archaeological excavations, and in particular those aspects from which generates the phenomenon of “incastellamento”. The methodology used in this research runs from detailed observations of the artifacts evidence and from the study of low scale settlement dynamics, to the general interpretations concerning the architecture of the Rocca Montis Dragonis and the social and economic aspects referred to the building opera. On what concerns these aspects we could define this method an “inductive” one, from which originates every scientific result. The 3D virtual technology has been a fundamental tool for the knowledge and the scientific comprehension of the entire fortified settlement, on its original aspect and extension. The virtual reconstruction of the buildings, the walls, the towers, the productive areas, the houses and the cisterns of this “medieval fortified village”, and at the same time of the life inside the castle, enriched by the reproduction of medieval pottery, glasses and weapons, produced an easy and well reading model. This tool can be used inside the Archaeological Museum of Mondragone, for every kind of visitors and stakeholders (researchers, students, tourists, general public), in particular senior citizens and disabled persons who cannot visit directly the site because its difficult location, on a high hilltop, and moreover for education activities. Finally, this kind of application of new technologies to an archaeological case-study, gave the chance to collect all the data deriving from the researches to realize a scientifically qualified product, suitable to spread information on different on-line and off-line platforms. Of greater technological interest in this project is the opportunity to manage the entire building complex along with the original plants landscape reconstruction. The entire hill on which lies the site was populated with thousands of 3D applications (3D instances), barely managed as individual objects. The management of the tree masses was carried out by specific software which have been run up to 150 million of polygons at once, rendered with radiosity algorithm type, which accounts for the entire reconstruction a realistic aspect.

Keywords: 3D virtual reality; medieval castles; cultural heritage promotion; ecosystems