Rome Reborn 1.0

June 11th, 2007 by Ross Scaife

from the Chronicle for Higher Education:

Ancient Rome Restored — Virtually

A group of Virginians and Californians has rebuilt ancient Rome. And today they received the grateful thanks of the modern city’s mayor. The rebuilding marked by this ceremony has been digital. Researchers from the University of Virginia and the University of California at Los Angeles led an international team of archaeologists, architects, and computer scientists in assembling a huge recreation of the city. Rome Reborn 1.0 shows Rome circa 320 AD as it appeared within the 13 miles of Aurelian Walls that encircled it. In the 3D model, users can navigate through and around all the buildings and streets, including the Roman Senate House, the Colosseum, and th e Temple of Venus and Rome. And of course, since the city is virtual, it can be updated as new scientific discoveries are made about the real remains. –Josh Fischman

The RR website repays browsing. The still image of the interior of the Curia Julia is unusually attractive to my eyes, for a digital reconstruction. Of greater interest is what’s said under “Future of the Project,” namely that “The leaders of the project agree that they should shift their emphasis from creating digital models of specific monuments to vetting and publishing the models of other scholars.” I hope that process gets underway.

Update: Troels Myrup Kristensen has his doubts:

Notice the absence of signs of life – no people, no animals, no junk, no noises, no smells, no decay. The scene is utterly stripped of all the clutter that is what really fascinates us about the past. The burning question is whether this kind of (expensive and technology-heavy) representation really gives us fundamentally new insights into the past? From what I’ve seen so far of this project, I’m not convinced that this is the case.

2 Responses to “Rome Reborn 1.0”

  1. Sean Gillies Says:

    Yes, marvelous project, but I find the website a bit disappointing. Flash movies should complement — not replace — addressable, linkable, bookmarkable, and programmable web sites.

  2. Ross Scaife Says:

    Sean, I agree with you about the website. Very slick and attractive but I don’t like not being able to link in to specific places within it.

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