Wednesday 30 September 2009

Digital Pompeii

Check out this video and interview with the Digital Pompeii people at the University of Arkansas. They've been using gaming technology to recreate insula blocks, and the result is pretty cool. It reminds me a bit of the cork models made during the Fiorelli era of excavation. This is a great way of recording the location of wall-paintings and mosaics, although the rooms are a bit bare with no furniture or artefacts, and no roofs. But there are probably enough problems trying to reconstruct the location of wall-paintings (a big question must be the reliability of the evidence used in the reconstruction) without throwing other elements (which would be based on subjective interpretation) into the mix. Anyway, I'm not sure the recreation provides an insight into what Roman (or Pompeian) houses were actually like, but I do think this could be a useful tool. I wonder how many insula blocks they are planning to do, and how they plan to publish. Does anyone know? More information, please!

1 comment:

Ethan Gruber said...

The University of Arkansas has a rather strong contingent of archaeologists/technologists who attend and are published at Computer Applications and Quantitative Methods in Archaeology. I wouldn't be surprised if this project would be published at CAA in 2010.

I too think that the attachment of wall paintings into the ruins without a thought of realistic reconstruction of roofs and other architectural elements is perhaps of limited value to scholars. I'd like to know what the research questions for the project are or if new hypotheses have been developed as a direct result of the digital model.

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