Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Walk Like An Egyptian -- Or A Roman: Experience What The Past Really Looked Like

Date:
May 15, 2007
Source:
Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council
Summary:
Computer scientists and cultural heritage researchers are assessing whether today's increasingly sophisticated 3-D computer technology can be combined with the most recent historical evidence to produce significantly improved visual reconstructions of churches, palaces and other ancient sites.

The Byzantine Angeloktistis Church at Kiti, Cyprus - the team will produce trial reconstructions of the interior as part of the project.
Credit: Image courtesy of Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council

What was it like to walk round the Colosseum when the Roman Empire was at its height?" How would the experience have differed from that of a tourist today?"

Our understanding of what life was like in bygone eras could be boosted, thanks to a new initiative aiming to depict more accurately and realistically how heritage sites may have looked in their heyday.

Computer scientists and cultural heritage researchers are assessing whether today's increasingly sophisticated 3-d computer technology can be combined with the most recent historical evidence to produce significantly improved visual reconstructions of churches, palaces and other ancient sites.

This could help historians, students and museum visitors gain a much better feel of how such sites were perceived by the people who used them in the past and what it was actually like to be there. The project is being funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC). The work is being carried out by researchers from Warwick Manufacturing Group and the new Warwick Digital Laboratory, University of Warwick.

In particular, the effects of smoke, dust, fog and interior lighting conditions (all of which would have impacted on the way that buildings were experienced by contemporaries) can now be modelled very accurately, for the first time. New developments in display technology also mean it is possible to produce images that are many times brighter, more vivid in colour, incorporate better contrast between light and dark -- and are therefore much more realistic -- than those previously achievable.

Harnessing such capabilities developed by leading-edge organisations in these specialised fields, the Warwick team is the first to examine whether they can be combined with the most up-to-date literary and archaeological evidence (about a site's characteristics, usage etc) and used to create 3-d computer reconstructions that provide new insight into the past.

"We're trying to produce images that show more realistically the actual conditions of the time we're looking back at," says Professor Alan Chalmers, who is leading the project. "Achieving this involves taking up-to-date historical evidence and combining it with the very latest in 3-d computer technology."

"The future might see the combining of extremely accurate, high-fidelity 3-d representations with temperature, smell, sound and other parameters," comments Professor Chalmers. "Our work may lead to a significant new tool that could help put us in closer touch with the past."

The high-fidelity computer graphics techniques being developed within this project are equally applicable to other fields which require highly realistic visualisation, including medical images, product design, architecture and crime scene reconstruction.

In this feasibility study, the team, with the assistance of the Department of Archaeology and Anthropology, University of Bristol, the Byzantine Museum and Art Galleries, Cyprus, the University of Cyprus and Cultural Heritage Imaging, USA, are focusing on Cypriot remains from the Byzantine Empire (c.350-1450 AD).

Within a few years, the techniques being assessed could provide the basis for 3-d computer displays in museums that show how artefacts really may have appeared in their original settings. Indeed, the education sector as a whole could benefit enormously from the availability of such computer reconstructions of an unprecedented high quality.

The feasibility study, 'A Comparative Study of the High-Fidelity Computer Reconstruction of Byzantine Art in Cyprus in the Past and Present', is due to run for 10 months and is receiving EPSRC funding of just over 61,000.

The Byzantine period is particularly well-suited as a 'test case' because the use of gold in Byzantine churches, and its interplay with natural light, candlelight and architectural features, created visual effects (e.g. pictures of Christ, the Virgin Maria and saints glowing and apparently illuminated from within) that had a profound impact on worshippers. More realistic recreations of such interiors could shed valuable light on people's spiritual lives and inform our understanding of how they viewed religious and secular authority, for instance.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council. "Walk Like An Egyptian -- Or A Roman: Experience What The Past Really Looked Like." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 15 May 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/05/070515102529.htm>.
Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council. (2007, May 15). Walk Like An Egyptian -- Or A Roman: Experience What The Past Really Looked Like. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/05/070515102529.htm
Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council. "Walk Like An Egyptian -- Or A Roman: Experience What The Past Really Looked Like." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/05/070515102529.htm (accessed October 23, 2014).

Share This



More Fossils & Ruins News

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Sunken WWII U-Boat That Fired On U.S. Convoy Found

Sunken WWII U-Boat That Fired On U.S. Convoy Found

Newsy (Oct. 22, 2014) U-576, a long-lost German U-boat the U.S. sank in 1942, has been found just 30 miles off North Carolina's coast and near the wreckage of another ship. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Turns Out Jack The Ripper's True Identity Is Still Unknown

Turns Out Jack The Ripper's True Identity Is Still Unknown

Newsy (Oct. 20, 2014) After testing DNA from a shawl found near one of Jack the Ripper's victims, a scientist said he'd identified the killer. New reports refute the claim. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Fish Fossil Shows First-Ever Sex Was Done Side By Side

Fish Fossil Shows First-Ever Sex Was Done Side By Side

Newsy (Oct. 19, 2014) A 380-million-year-old fish may be the first creature to have copulative sex - and it was side by side with arms linked, like square dancers. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
As Sweden Hunts For Sub, "Cold War" Comparisons Flourish

As Sweden Hunts For Sub, "Cold War" Comparisons Flourish

Newsy (Oct. 19, 2014) With Sweden on the look-out for a suspected Russian sub, a lot of people are talking about the Cold War, but is it an apt comparison? Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins