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   Date: 3/19/09 Bookmark and Share

Touring the Streets and Alleyways of Ancient Rome

The Roman Coliseum, as seen on Ancient Rome at Google Earth.

Thanks to the work of Bernard Frischer, online visitors to Google Earth can visit Rome as it existed in 320 A.D., a capital of the world ruled by Constantine the Great.

Frischer, designer of Ancient Rome for Google Earth, will speak on “Making Cultural Heritage Virtual: Rome Roeborn and Other 3D Modeling Projects at the University of Virginia” on Thursday, April 2, at 5 p.m. in Graham Hall, Hillyer. During his talk, Frischer will explain how archaeologists and architectural historians are increasingllyl finding it useful to create digital 3D models of their objects of study. Digital models of ancient Rome and of several historical American sties recentlyl created at the University of Virginia will be presented to exemplify uses of 3D models. The lecture will be of great interest to those in a range of disciplines, including art, computer science, history, and archaeology.

Frischer, who also serves as professor of classics and art history, and Director of the Institute for Advanced Technology in the Humanities at the University of Virginia, is a leading scholar in the application of digital technologies to humanities research and education. The works of Frischer and his institute have received international acclaim and have been featured on the Discovery Channel, BBC, in Newsweek and numerous other media outlets.

His Rome Reborn project aims to give viewers a vivid look at ancient Rome at its height in 320 A.D. The project is the subject of a cover story in the December 2008 issue of Computer Graphics World. As described in that story, “the historically accurate digital re-creation—which melds the wondrous technological achievements of the past with those of the present—offers a comprehensive, holistic perspective of this amazing city. The most impressive aspect of this re-creation is the sheer scale of the model: It encompasses 7,000 carefully reconstructed, detailed period buildings…And when this virtual model is completed in the spring of 2009, users will be able to explore the ancient cityscape, structures, and alleyways in real time and in high resolution. What’s more, all the imagery and information will be rendered interactively within the user’s Internet browser.” 

Frischer’s visit is sponsored by the programs in ancient studies and archaeology, the departments of art, computer science, and history, and the Lecture Committee at Smith.


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