The most realistic and complete virtual rendition of Egypt’s Giza Plateau is now available online, allowing anyone with a computer to wander the necropolis, explore shafts and burial chambers, and enter four of the site’s ancient temples, including Khufu’s and Menkaure’s pyramids.
Engineered by software design firm Dassault Systèmes, in collaboration with Harvard University and the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, the free application is available on multiple devices, including 3-D-enabled computer monitors and TVs, and immersive environments.
Indeed, this is not just another too-clean looking and ultimately boring 3-D virtual tour of Egypt’s famous archaeological site.
"Many 3-D models of ancient sites have more to do with fantasy and video games than with archaeology. The colors, surfaces and textures are not researched and appear quite flat or unrealistic," Peter Der Manuelian, Philip J. King professor of Egyptology at Harvard University and director of the MFA’s Giza Archives, told Discovery News.
According to Manuelian, Giza 3D focuses on reality and reproduces one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World on sound scholarly data.
"Our reconstructions strive to reflect as much existing excavation data as possible, and that includes a meticulous study of ancient colors, inscriptions, textures of walls, buildings and objects," Manuelian said.
The project draws on the work of George Andrew Reisner (1867-1942), an American Egyptologist who directed the work of the Harvard University—Museum of Fine Arts Boston Expedition at the Giza Plateau more than a century ago.