Laura PECCHIOLI1 / Barbara MAZZEI2
(1Seminar for the Languages and Cultures of the Near East Ruprecht-Karls-University Heidelberg, Germany / 2Pontificia Commissione di Archeologia Sacra Roma, Italy)

Abstract: The Basilica of St. Silvestro above the catacombs of Priscilla in Rome was built in 1907 over the foundations of two ancient constructions: one of the end of the III century and the other of the mid-fourth century. The original building were incorporated in a funerary enclosure and surrounded by many mausoleums. The floor of both buildings has been tapped for the insertion of earthen tombs and along the walls were piles of arcosolia. In the fourth century, in the oldest one were transferred the bodies of two martyrs Felix and Philip and buried on the pope Silvestro (+ 335).

Between 1890 and 1906 in the archeological excavations, numerous fragments of sarcophagi dating from the late second century to the beginning of the fifth were found. The marble fragments were hung on the walls of the reconstructed building, following iconographic criteria.

The project has the goal to enhance the environment and the tombs, and rebuild its historical identity through a museum where the fragments of the sarcophaghi can be highlighted. The approach has been to maintain the pieces in their original context of the basilica and give better access to the monument through an architectural project and a web-application based on a method called ISEE (that means “I see”). ISEE tries to connect the different fields of research with technology through its intuitive approach.

We use the Unity 3D technology to visualize and interactively navigate 3D models on the web. The unity plug-in is available for all the major browsers (IE, Firefox, Safari) and platforms (Windows, OsX), so it does not limit application usage.

The user can navigate in the model and retrieve the information when he/she is looking. The virtual visit represents in this context an added value, because it allows to retrieve for each fragment the information in detail. The accessibility to information will have several access levels (common user and researchers e.g.), but the interface of the system is always intuitive and user-friendly.

In the last months, the sculptures were restored and their invention of archive has following the standard of the ICOM-CIDOC (International Committee for Documentation of the International Council of Museum). Some of these fragments have been reassembled to give a new interpretation and collocation in the exhibition. Our interdisciplinary collaboration represents a contribute for an innovative solution to access and manage information in its context.

Keywords: accessibility Web, 3D interface, Cultural Heritage Data