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)

Outline: The museum of the sculptures of the basilica of Saint Silvestro, at the catacombs of Priscilla in Rome, presents about 700 pieces of sarcophages dated between the beginning of the III century and the first half of the IV century. Recently, the sculptures were restored and in the invention archived following the standard of the ICOM-CIDOC (International Committee for Documentation of the International Council of Museum).

Our choice has been to maintain the pieces in their original context of the basilica and to improve the accessibility to this monument bot physically through an architectural project and virtually with a web-application based on a method called ISEE. The interdisciplinary collaboration contributes to develop an innovative sharing tool for the accessing, managing and sharing the information in its context.

Abstract: The web application is based on a software called ISEE, that presents an intuitive and user-friendly interaction for accessing, inserting and modifying information in a 3D environment. As it is based on the simple action of navigating the 3D space allows an intuitive interaction and can be suitable to all categories of users. New pieces of information can be inserted in the same way in which they are queried, just by looking in 3D. The study of the sarcophages is a particular field of research in archaeology, and not easily accessible everywhere. The numerous fragments allow not to introduce many information in the exhibition. The web application will enable to connect each fragment to the existent database in detail and using Internet. Moreover the virtual visit can solve the climatic problem for the underlying environment of the catacombs and the relative accessibility. To visualise and interactively navigate 3D models on the web, we use the Unity 3D technology, available for all the major browsers (IE, Firefox, Safari) and platforms (Windows, OsX).

The use of extended zones gives to the proposed ranking algorithm a superior performance than rankings based only on the distance. The proposed ranking algorithm matches the intuitive expectation of the users, as was verified with a formal usability test that was performed at completion of the work. The application tries to store all its information in formats that are likely to be readable in the future, and is accessible also through a RESTful interface allowing other programs to access the data in a Web 2.0 style. We feel that being as much as possible is very important in a method to archive information, and is often neglected.

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