The Tomb of Memi: an excavation site reconstruction

The Pyramid of Khafre and the Great Sphinx of ...

The Pyramid of Khafre and the Great Sphinx. Image via Wikipedia

Excavation site virtual reconstructions attempt to portray the actual appearance of significant archaeological sites in a 3D world. Visitors to a site can freely explore its re-created buildings and begin to get a sense of what it would be like to travel to the real site and discover its secrets firsthand.

Egyptologists were among the first historians to use 3D graphic software to accurately portray excavation sites. Giza-3D, for example, allows users to explore a tomb excavation located on Egypt’s Giza Plateau.  A Macquarie University historian has recently developed a 3D site world that accurately re-creates the Tomb of Memi (also known as Kagemni). Read her description of the site below:

Tomb of Memi Forecourt

Located in Upper Egypt, the cemetery of El-Hawawish was a popular burial ground between the Fifth and Twelfth Dynasties of Ancient Egypt. One tomb discovered at El-Hawawish belonged to Memi, the Governor of the province Akhmim, which has been dated to the late Fifth Dynasty.

Originally excavated in the early 1900s, the Tomb of Memi has slowly begun to weather and deteriorate due to the natural forces of erosion and exposure to the elements.

This 3D reconstruction, depicting the Tomb of Memi, incorporates many of the architectural features, such as the portico and numerous columns, that are no longer present. This 3D world allows you to see the Tomb of Memi as it would have appeared soon after construction.

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AncientCopán: a virtual world reconstruction

Stela H, depicting 18 Rabbit

Stela H, depicting 18 Rabbit Image via Wikipedia

AncientCopán is a 3D world that re-creates an archaeological site (Copán: Mayan name Xukpi) and shows its appearance in c. 750AD. Copán was an influential cultural centre of the southern Mayan region (now western Honduras) during the Classical Period.  Its decline can be dated from c.  738 AD when its ruler, the popular  18 Rabbit (pictured in the stela detail to the right), was captured and killed by Cauac Sky, the ruler of the rival city-state of Quiriguá, . Copán was largely abandoned soon after and remained unexplored by Europeans until the middle of the 19th century.  Site excavations over the last fifty years have gradually revealed a large metropolis comprised of temples, pyramids and other buildings or cultural spaces. The image below shows a player entering the Ball Court of Copán, a feature of most large cities in the Mayan and Aztec worlds, as he appears in the 3D reconstruction.

Ball Court Player in AncientCopan

Ball Court Player in AncientCopan

The virtual site is currently nearing completion and will be available in a download version and as a multiplayer online game in the near future.

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