(Faculty of Archaeology, Leiden, The Netherlands)
Abstract: Virtual reality offers new possibilities for cultural heritage management and dissemination. Especially in the case of ancient cities that nowadays do not show monumental evidence of their past existence, 3D visualisations allow non-expert users to see the ancient site through the eyes of archaeologists, thus giving coherence and meaning to the scattered archaeological finds on the surface.
This project aims to reconstruct the ancient city of Koroneia in virtual reality. The city once dominated former Lake Copais and was the theatre of battles during the Peloponnesian and Greek city state war. The site is being virtually ‘rebuilt’ by assembling the preliminary results of architectural and pottery surveys carried out by the Ancient Cities of Boeotia team (directed by prof. J.L. Bintliff and A. Snodgrass) and integrating these data with information from historical sources, travellers’ accounts, comparisons with excavated sites and traditional building techniques. The data from the survey, which are organised in a GIS, have been exported and elaborated in AutoCAD and 3D Studio Max.
The project started with the reconstruction of Koroneia’s theatre, whose possible location has been identified in a footprint on the slope of the ancient city’s hill. Several hypotheses on location and structure of the theatre have been tested in the virtual environment, which provided a platform for discussion within our team.
Once completed, the virtual reconstruction of the city will be available both on the web in a desktop virtual reality application and on site through a geo-tagged augmented reality tour. The augmented reality application superimposes the virtual reconstruction of the site on the real location and aims to raise the awareness of local communities about their own cultural heritage. The sources that have been used during the reconstruction will be accessible through links to the virtual model, aiming at a ‘transparent’ presentation of the data.
Keywords: virtual reality, augmented reality, urban archaeology