(Institute for Mediterranean Studies | Laboratory of Geophysical – Satellite Remote Sensing & Archaeo-environment (GeoSat ReSeArch LAB), Foundation for Research & Technology, Hellas (F.O.R.T.H.), Rethymno Greece)

Keywords: ancient theatres, Virtual Archaeology, auralization, head-mounted display

A detailed study about the architecture of the Roman theatres of Crete has enabled formulating new hypotheses about their original aspect. In order to make this information available and attractive for the general public, a VR application for head-mounted display has been utilized. The idea is to let the users choose among six of the 3D reconstructed Roman theatres located in the island of Crete, Greece and to virtually transport them within the ancient theatres,in order to let them discover more about their history through interactive informative icons and panels. The panels explain, through texts and videos, the history of the monuments, their architectural characteristics and their location with respect to the island of Crete. They contain pictures of the ancient theaters, as well as drawings of their architectural design. Further panels indicate the level of reliability of the reconstructions for each sector of the theatres (seating area, central corridors and scene building) plus the sources and the tools employed to design the final hypotheses. The virtual navigation includes among others the capability to listen to an ancient performance(from several seats that the users can select), which sounds exactly as if it would have been recorded in the selected spot, thanks to the auralization process. This VR application, when used directly on the archaeological sites or in the museums, would contribute to make the experience of the visitors more stimulating, educational and entertaining. The possibility to choose which theatre to visit, which seat to sit and which information to visualize, together with the sense of immersion, can keep the users engaged, facilitating the learning process.