GET ATTRACTIONS MANAGEMENT
magazine
Yes! Send me the FREE digital edition of Attractions Management and the FREE weekly Attractions Management ezines and breaking news alerts!
Not right now, thanksclose this window
POST YOUR JOB ONLINE
Free ezine/digital edition sign up
Jobs   News   Features   Video    Products   Company profilesProfiles   Magazine   Handbook   Advertise  
Heritage
Points of view

A new 3D project has brought Egypt’s Giza pyramids to life, allowing them to be shared worldwide while protecting their heritage

By Nick Lerner | Published in Attractions Management 2013 issue 1


Situated on the outskirts of Cairo, Africa’s largest city, the Giza Plateau is a little-known archaeological jewel. Over the centuries, the ancient Egyptians built Giza into a vast necropolis, rich in lessons about their civilization, conception of the afterlife, architectural knowledge, art and writing.

The area is subject to threats from all sides, from rampant urban sprawl, the elements and even vandalism. This raises two questions – how can this heritage be preserved and how can it be shared with as many as possible? The Giza 3D project has the answers.

On the Nile’s west bank, opposite the ancient city of Cairo, the Giza Plateau constitutes a vast necropolis at the desert’s edge, spread across 2,000m (6,562ft) from east to west and 1,500m (4,921ft) from north to south.

Around the pyramids, where the kings are entombed, flanked by smaller satellite pyramids for their queens, the Egyptians customarily buried family members and dignitaries, so that they could enjoy the beneficent influence of the proximity of their sovereign in their journey to the hereafter. Over the centuries, the Giza Plateau was gradually covered with rectangular buildings called mastabas (mastaba means bench in Arabic), temples which were dedicated to worship, pits containing giant funerary boats and a network of passages and causeways.

It all constitutes a rich funerary complex, unfortunately much the worse for looting and the passage of time. The best-preserved royal mortuary complex, dedicated to the pharaoh Khafre, gives us an idea of what the necropolis must have been like in its heyday.

Endangered zone
The Giza Plateau is an endangered heritage zone. The entire site is threatened by a combination of adverse factors. In addition to erosion by the weather, with sandstorms and temperature fluctuations, there’s also the human element. With growing urbanisation, Cairo’s megalopolis is now encroaching on the site itself with problems including pollution that attacks limestone. Moreover, the site is victim to its own success. Abrasion from millions of footsteps, and carbon dioxide exhalations of vast numbers of visitors attack the stone of the pyramids and mastaba. There’s additional damage from graffiti and people who have tried to extract stones.

Add this to the worldwide museum diaspora of objects extracted from the plateau since Egyptology’s infancy, and the Giza Necropolis is practically impossible to study in its entirety. To do so would involve bringing together information and objects that have been scattered throughout the world, listing, classifying and documenting them. The task is massive. And yet, a good start has been made.

Excavations
In 1904, Egyptologist George Reisner began work on the Giza Necropolis. During 40 years of excavations, he unearthed thousands of remains and works of art and left a thorough catalogue of his explorations, with 45,000 photographic glass plate negatives, tens of thousands of pages of diaries, manuscripts, and reports, countless maps, diagrams, notes and copious correspondence.

George Reisner’s death in 1942 and the Second World War eventually put an end to the mission, and the fruits of the expedition archives were sent home to the Museum of Fine Arts Boston (MFA), USA, along with all the reports and other materials.

This immense resource remained practically unused until the beginning of the 1970s when the MFA’s curator, William Kelly Simpson, returned to Giza for new excavations. Continuing Reisner’s work, he embarked on systematically logging the mastaba tombs in a monograph series. The task was a daunting one, as finding the information about a given mastaba on the ground was very difficult. Moreover, seeking remote access to the archives, for example by foreign students, was practically impossible. And the fragility of certain media, such as the famous glass plate photographs, complicated their transport and handling.

Digitisation
In 2000, thanks to the support of the Andrew W Mellon Foundation, the MFA was able to launch a major project. Technical progress and the democratisation of digital technology made it possible to initiate the Giza Archives Project, involving the digitisation of both the immense Reisner collection and selected data scattered among universities and museums worldwide.

The challenges were manifold: a gigantic task of digitising the available records, entering data, establishing coherent cross-indexing and constructing a database to facilitate search by various criteria. It took years of dedicated work to complete the digitisation of the Reisner expedition archives. The next task was to provide the simplest and most effective access possible to the archives, whether for university researchers or the public looking for more on the wonders of Giza.

The Web was the preferred solution, and the website of the Giza Archives Project was put online. Several modes of searching the database catered to the needs of all types of users, along with explanatory videos.

Now people can click on a mastaba while flying over a photo of the Giza Plateau and obtain a wealth of information, such as the identity of its occupants, the date of its discovery, the exploration report, the list and photographs of remains and more. Visitors can also search the database by entering the specific identifier of a tomb or object in the catalogue and quickly obtain all the desired information.

The depth of its content and interface have made the Giza Archives Project website the leading reference resource on the Giza Necropolis.

A new dimension
Fantastic as this achievement was, Dr Peter Der Manuelian, director of the Giza Archive Project, wanted to take it further. In 2007 he saw a 3D presentation of the theory of the building of the Khufu pyramid, which took audiences to the heart of the original construction work on the Great Pyramid.

Created by 3D experience company Dassault Systèmes, the 3D immersion in a virtual Egypt offered unprecedented realism, all the more so as the experience was interactive. It wasn’t a film with a fixed screenplay, where the 3D was calculated in advance, but a live adventure where the 3D was presented in real time and depended on the movements made in the virtual world.

A 3D-jockey, or 3DJ led the spectators around the Khufu construction site, following directions to approach certain details or enter particular spaces. The 3D virtual experience was also uploaded to the Dassault Systèmes website, allowing millions of internet users to take off for the Egypt of Khufu’s time. A documentary mixing footage shot in the field and 3D images of the experience was produced the following year.

Der Manuelian realised the added value potential of immersive 3D for navigating through the immense data pertaining to Giza, so approached the team at Dassault Systèmes. Different eras in the history of the Giza Necropolis had to be reconstituted and the data digitised to create an interactive experience that put the finds in their proper context. In this way, the general public could visit an extremely realistic, virtual Giza Necropolis. Researchers and academics could also share new data and collaborate to advance the state of knowledge of the Giza Plateau together.

Time travel
The ravages of weather have left tombs on the Giza Plateau in poor condition. Using information compiled in expeditions, the Necropolis has been reconstituted at various periods in time. As a result, the mastabas and other monuments can be visited in 3D in a state of virtual conservation considerably better than the reality, as some have entirely disappeared.

The Necropolis can now be viewed in various stages of completion and from any angle, including aerial 3D views, cross sections of the ground and passing through walls. People can visit a mastaba, restore all the finds discovered there to their original context and consult the available documentation from the database.

The tombs can also be considered from other angles, such as isolating a sub-group and observing the relations between the tombs of a single family or going below ground to follow the complicated maze of shafts linking tombs in search of a logical system or a story.

Reconstruction of vanished temples or tombs from available information makes it possible to trace the entire history of the Giza Plateau at different eras and follow the development of the Necropolis down through the centuries. Various arrangements of the monuments can be quickly prototyped, allowing simple and speedy testing of multiple hypotheses. The use of 3D has enabled the discovery of new correlations, raising fresh questions and helping to advance the overall knowledge of Giza.

Tomorrow’s museums
The online publication of the Giza 3D project makes sharing it much easier. Instead of shipping fragile archival photos and documents from collections around the world for temporary exhibitions, the digitilised, 3D can be placed in context of the tombs they came from, with all the corresponding information.

Installed in interactive terminals or on pads provided, interactive 3D can give visitors a new dimension to objects exhibited in glass cases, showing them in their context and bringing them to life, balancing scientific discipline and technological creativity.

Museums can equip themselves with everything from simple 3D televisions, such as those used in the At the Foot of the Great Pyramids temporary exhibition at Germany’s Pelizaeus-Museum in Hildesheim and a forthcoming exhibition in Vienna planned for this year – to more complex immersive systems. These include a virtual reality cave with interactive tours where visitors wear special glasses and visit the restored tombs, shafts and burial chambers.

Giza 3D is a complex project involving management of a wealth of data in an attractive, realistic and user-friendly presentation. It’s both a demonstration of the power of 3D in the service of specialised research and an example of universal knowledge sharing.

For more information, visit http://giza3d.3ds.com

Virtual viewing means less environmental impact on Giza
Using 3D glasses, people can explore underground tombs
The technology brings the era of the ancient Egyptians to life
US Egyptologist George Reisner oversaw 40 years of excavations on the Necropolis
US Egyptologist George Reisner oversaw 40 years of excavations on the Necropolis
Several modes of searching the database for objects or places will appeal to all types of users
Website visitors can just click for a host of detailed information
Researchers and academics can share data more easily
The 3D experience offers viewers unprecedented realism
People can see key artefacts in their original setting, virtually
COMPANY PROFILES
WhiteWater

WhiteWater was born in 1980 with one clear purpose, to create places where families unite and make j [more...]
TechnoAlpin

TechnoAlpin is the world leader for snowmaking systems. Our product portfolio includes all different [more...]
instantprint

We’re a Yorkshire-based online printer, founded in 2009 by Adam Carnell and James Kinsella. [more...]
Clip 'n Climb

Clip ‘n Climb currently offers facility owners and investors more than 40 colourful and unique Cha [more...]
+ More profiles  
FEATURED SUPPLIER

Attractions industry to reunite this September at IAAPA Expo Europe in London
For the first time in more than a decade, industry leaders from across the global attractions industry will once again gather in London as part of the annual IAAPA Expo Europe, the sector’s premier international event. [more...]
VIDEO GALLERY

Red Raion - Keynote | Moby Dick - Friends to the rescue!
It’s extremely important for us to show you the process behind every content we produce. Each of our titles stems from deep research, focused on giving you the kinds of content that best fit your venues and target audience. Find out more...
More videos:
Red Raion Showreel 2021 – Red Raion
Red Raion Showreel 2021 – Red Raion
Red Raion TV - Testimonial: Leolandia – Red Raion
+ More videos  

CATALOGUE GALLERY
 

+ More catalogues  
DIRECTORY
+ More directory  
DIARY

 

27-29 Sep 2022

International Congress on Thermal Tourism

Ourense, Ourense, Spain
13 Oct 2022

VAC 2022

The ICC Birmingham, Birmingham, United Kingdom
+ More diary  
LATEST ISSUES
+ View Magazine Archive

Attractions Management

Issue 2 Volume 27


View issue contents
View on turning pages
Download PDF
FREE digital subscription
Print subscription

Attractions Management

Issue 1 Volume 27


View issue contents
View on turning pages
Download PDF
FREE digital subscription
Print subscription

Attractions Management

Issue 4 Volume 26


View issue contents
View on turning pages
Download PDF
FREE digital subscription
Print subscription

Attractions Management

2021 issue 3


View issue contents
View on turning pages
Download PDF
FREE digital subscription
Print subscription

Attractions Management News

06 Apr 2020 issue 153


View on turning pages
Download PDF
View archive
FREE digital subscription
Print subscription

Attractions Handbook

2019


View issue contents
View on turning pages
Download PDF
FREE digital subscription
Print subscription
 
ABOUT LEISURE MEDIA
LEISURE MEDIA MAGAZINES
LEISURE MEDIA HANDBOOKS
LEISURE MEDIA WEBSITES
LEISURE MEDIA PRODUCT SEARCH
 
ATTRACTIONS MANAGEMENT
ATTRACTIONS MANAGEMENT NEWS
ATTRACTIONS HANDBOOK
PRINT SUBSCRIPTIONS
FREE DIGITAL SUBSCRIPTIONS
ADVERTISE . CONTACT US

Leisure Media
Tel: +44 (0)1462 431385

©Cybertrek 2022
Jobs    News   Products   Magazine
Heritage
Points of view

A new 3D project has brought Egypt’s Giza pyramids to life, allowing them to be shared worldwide while protecting their heritage

By Nick Lerner | Published in Attractions Management 2013 issue 1


Situated on the outskirts of Cairo, Africa’s largest city, the Giza Plateau is a little-known archaeological jewel. Over the centuries, the ancient Egyptians built Giza into a vast necropolis, rich in lessons about their civilization, conception of the afterlife, architectural knowledge, art and writing.

The area is subject to threats from all sides, from rampant urban sprawl, the elements and even vandalism. This raises two questions – how can this heritage be preserved and how can it be shared with as many as possible? The Giza 3D project has the answers.

On the Nile’s west bank, opposite the ancient city of Cairo, the Giza Plateau constitutes a vast necropolis at the desert’s edge, spread across 2,000m (6,562ft) from east to west and 1,500m (4,921ft) from north to south.

Around the pyramids, where the kings are entombed, flanked by smaller satellite pyramids for their queens, the Egyptians customarily buried family members and dignitaries, so that they could enjoy the beneficent influence of the proximity of their sovereign in their journey to the hereafter. Over the centuries, the Giza Plateau was gradually covered with rectangular buildings called mastabas (mastaba means bench in Arabic), temples which were dedicated to worship, pits containing giant funerary boats and a network of passages and causeways.

It all constitutes a rich funerary complex, unfortunately much the worse for looting and the passage of time. The best-preserved royal mortuary complex, dedicated to the pharaoh Khafre, gives us an idea of what the necropolis must have been like in its heyday.

Endangered zone
The Giza Plateau is an endangered heritage zone. The entire site is threatened by a combination of adverse factors. In addition to erosion by the weather, with sandstorms and temperature fluctuations, there’s also the human element. With growing urbanisation, Cairo’s megalopolis is now encroaching on the site itself with problems including pollution that attacks limestone. Moreover, the site is victim to its own success. Abrasion from millions of footsteps, and carbon dioxide exhalations of vast numbers of visitors attack the stone of the pyramids and mastaba. There’s additional damage from graffiti and people who have tried to extract stones.

Add this to the worldwide museum diaspora of objects extracted from the plateau since Egyptology’s infancy, and the Giza Necropolis is practically impossible to study in its entirety. To do so would involve bringing together information and objects that have been scattered throughout the world, listing, classifying and documenting them. The task is massive. And yet, a good start has been made.

Excavations
In 1904, Egyptologist George Reisner began work on the Giza Necropolis. During 40 years of excavations, he unearthed thousands of remains and works of art and left a thorough catalogue of his explorations, with 45,000 photographic glass plate negatives, tens of thousands of pages of diaries, manuscripts, and reports, countless maps, diagrams, notes and copious correspondence.

George Reisner’s death in 1942 and the Second World War eventually put an end to the mission, and the fruits of the expedition archives were sent home to the Museum of Fine Arts Boston (MFA), USA, along with all the reports and other materials.

This immense resource remained practically unused until the beginning of the 1970s when the MFA’s curator, William Kelly Simpson, returned to Giza for new excavations. Continuing Reisner’s work, he embarked on systematically logging the mastaba tombs in a monograph series. The task was a daunting one, as finding the information about a given mastaba on the ground was very difficult. Moreover, seeking remote access to the archives, for example by foreign students, was practically impossible. And the fragility of certain media, such as the famous glass plate photographs, complicated their transport and handling.

Digitisation
In 2000, thanks to the support of the Andrew W Mellon Foundation, the MFA was able to launch a major project. Technical progress and the democratisation of digital technology made it possible to initiate the Giza Archives Project, involving the digitisation of both the immense Reisner collection and selected data scattered among universities and museums worldwide.

The challenges were manifold: a gigantic task of digitising the available records, entering data, establishing coherent cross-indexing and constructing a database to facilitate search by various criteria. It took years of dedicated work to complete the digitisation of the Reisner expedition archives. The next task was to provide the simplest and most effective access possible to the archives, whether for university researchers or the public looking for more on the wonders of Giza.

The Web was the preferred solution, and the website of the Giza Archives Project was put online. Several modes of searching the database catered to the needs of all types of users, along with explanatory videos.

Now people can click on a mastaba while flying over a photo of the Giza Plateau and obtain a wealth of information, such as the identity of its occupants, the date of its discovery, the exploration report, the list and photographs of remains and more. Visitors can also search the database by entering the specific identifier of a tomb or object in the catalogue and quickly obtain all the desired information.

The depth of its content and interface have made the Giza Archives Project website the leading reference resource on the Giza Necropolis.

A new dimension
Fantastic as this achievement was, Dr Peter Der Manuelian, director of the Giza Archive Project, wanted to take it further. In 2007 he saw a 3D presentation of the theory of the building of the Khufu pyramid, which took audiences to the heart of the original construction work on the Great Pyramid.

Created by 3D experience company Dassault Systèmes, the 3D immersion in a virtual Egypt offered unprecedented realism, all the more so as the experience was interactive. It wasn’t a film with a fixed screenplay, where the 3D was calculated in advance, but a live adventure where the 3D was presented in real time and depended on the movements made in the virtual world.

A 3D-jockey, or 3DJ led the spectators around the Khufu construction site, following directions to approach certain details or enter particular spaces. The 3D virtual experience was also uploaded to the Dassault Systèmes website, allowing millions of internet users to take off for the Egypt of Khufu’s time. A documentary mixing footage shot in the field and 3D images of the experience was produced the following year.

Der Manuelian realised the added value potential of immersive 3D for navigating through the immense data pertaining to Giza, so approached the team at Dassault Systèmes. Different eras in the history of the Giza Necropolis had to be reconstituted and the data digitised to create an interactive experience that put the finds in their proper context. In this way, the general public could visit an extremely realistic, virtual Giza Necropolis. Researchers and academics could also share new data and collaborate to advance the state of knowledge of the Giza Plateau together.

Time travel
The ravages of weather have left tombs on the Giza Plateau in poor condition. Using information compiled in expeditions, the Necropolis has been reconstituted at various periods in time. As a result, the mastabas and other monuments can be visited in 3D in a state of virtual conservation considerably better than the reality, as some have entirely disappeared.

The Necropolis can now be viewed in various stages of completion and from any angle, including aerial 3D views, cross sections of the ground and passing through walls. People can visit a mastaba, restore all the finds discovered there to their original context and consult the available documentation from the database.

The tombs can also be considered from other angles, such as isolating a sub-group and observing the relations between the tombs of a single family or going below ground to follow the complicated maze of shafts linking tombs in search of a logical system or a story.

Reconstruction of vanished temples or tombs from available information makes it possible to trace the entire history of the Giza Plateau at different eras and follow the development of the Necropolis down through the centuries. Various arrangements of the monuments can be quickly prototyped, allowing simple and speedy testing of multiple hypotheses. The use of 3D has enabled the discovery of new correlations, raising fresh questions and helping to advance the overall knowledge of Giza.

Tomorrow’s museums
The online publication of the Giza 3D project makes sharing it much easier. Instead of shipping fragile archival photos and documents from collections around the world for temporary exhibitions, the digitilised, 3D can be placed in context of the tombs they came from, with all the corresponding information.

Installed in interactive terminals or on pads provided, interactive 3D can give visitors a new dimension to objects exhibited in glass cases, showing them in their context and bringing them to life, balancing scientific discipline and technological creativity.

Museums can equip themselves with everything from simple 3D televisions, such as those used in the At the Foot of the Great Pyramids temporary exhibition at Germany’s Pelizaeus-Museum in Hildesheim and a forthcoming exhibition in Vienna planned for this year – to more complex immersive systems. These include a virtual reality cave with interactive tours where visitors wear special glasses and visit the restored tombs, shafts and burial chambers.

Giza 3D is a complex project involving management of a wealth of data in an attractive, realistic and user-friendly presentation. It’s both a demonstration of the power of 3D in the service of specialised research and an example of universal knowledge sharing.

For more information, visit http://giza3d.3ds.com

Virtual viewing means less environmental impact on Giza
Using 3D glasses, people can explore underground tombs
The technology brings the era of the ancient Egyptians to life
US Egyptologist George Reisner oversaw 40 years of excavations on the Necropolis
US Egyptologist George Reisner oversaw 40 years of excavations on the Necropolis
Several modes of searching the database for objects or places will appeal to all types of users
Website visitors can just click for a host of detailed information
Researchers and academics can share data more easily
The 3D experience offers viewers unprecedented realism
People can see key artefacts in their original setting, virtually
LATEST NEWS
Queen Elizabeth II to be commemorated by Thames' Illuminated River
Illuminated River, described as the world’s longest public artwork, will be lit in commemoration of the passing of Her Majesty The Queen, Elizabeth II.
Brad Pitt makes debut as sculptor at Finnish art museum
Hollywood superstar, Brad Pitt, has made his debut as a sculptor as part of British artist Thomas Houseago’s first ever exhibition in the Nordic countries.
World's longest and 'technologically advanced' zipline planned for Iceland
A 1km-long zipline offering riders speeds of 120km/h is set to open in Iceland later this year.
Triotech secures deal to supply rides for Puy Du Fou Asia's first Chinese attraction
Triotech has secured a deal to supply its interactive ride technology for the SAGA Experience, an immersive attraction being developed in the heart of Shanghai, China, by Puy du Fou Asia.
Tangled attraction among new additions revealed for Disneyland Paris Resort
A Tangled-themed family ride is among a range of new attractions revealed for the Walt Disney Studios Park at Disneyland Paris Resort, France.
Merlin takes over operations at UK's largest indoor waterpark
Merlin Entertainments has secured a contract to operate Blackpool Sandcastle, the UK's largest indoor waterpark.
HBG Design behind Michigan’s six-storey Aquadome inspired by the sun’s path across the sky
Hospitality and entertainment design firm HBG Design is helming the design of Michigan's new Gun Lake Casino Resort Aquadome – a glass-roofed, climate-controlled, indoor landscaped pool and event centre atrium environment.
IAAPA recognition for Blackpool Pleasure Beach to mark century-old relationship
Blackpool Pleasure Beach will be honoured at the IAAPA Expo Europe, being held in London later this month.
Preparations for construction of £250m Therme Manchester project get underway
Plans to start work on the UK’s first city-based wellbeing resort, Therme Manchester, at TraffordCity have progressed this week with preparations to clear the current site.
Merlin to open Legoland Resort in Belgium by 2027
Merlin Entertainments Group has revealed plans for a new Legoland theme park near Charleroi Airport in Belgium.
First images released for Merlin's Jumanji land at Chessington
Visuals have been released for the new Jumanji-themed land at Chessington World of Adventures in London, UK, which is set to open to the public in 2023.
Universal's Epic Universe set to open in 2025
Building work on Universal's Epic Universe – a new theme park at the Universal Orlando Resort in Florida, US – is advancing and the park is set to open to visitors in 2025.
+ More news   
 
COMPANY PROFILES
WhiteWater

WhiteWater was born in 1980 with one clear purpose, to create places where families unite and make j [more...]
TechnoAlpin

TechnoAlpin is the world leader for snowmaking systems. Our product portfolio includes all different [more...]
instantprint

We’re a Yorkshire-based online printer, founded in 2009 by Adam Carnell and James Kinsella. [more...]
Clip 'n Climb

Clip ‘n Climb currently offers facility owners and investors more than 40 colourful and unique Cha [more...]
+ More profiles  
FEATURED SUPPLIER

Attractions industry to reunite this September at IAAPA Expo Europe in London
For the first time in more than a decade, industry leaders from across the global attractions industry will once again gather in London as part of the annual IAAPA Expo Europe, the sector’s premier international event. [more...]
VIDEO GALLERY

Red Raion - Keynote | Moby Dick - Friends to the rescue!
It’s extremely important for us to show you the process behind every content we produce. Each of our titles stems from deep research, focused on giving you the kinds of content that best fit your venues and target audience. Find out more...
More videos:
Red Raion Showreel 2021 – Red Raion
Red Raion Showreel 2021 – Red Raion
Red Raion TV - Testimonial: Leolandia – Red Raion
+ More videos  

CATALOGUE GALLERY
+ More catalogues  
DIRECTORY
+ More directory  
DIARY

 

27-29 Sep 2022

International Congress on Thermal Tourism

Ourense, Ourense, Spain
13 Oct 2022

VAC 2022

The ICC Birmingham, Birmingham, United Kingdom
+ More diary  
 


ADVERTISE . CONTACT US

Leisure Media
Tel: +44 (0)1462 431385

©Cybertrek 2022

ABOUT LEISURE MEDIA
LEISURE MEDIA MAGAZINES
LEISURE MEDIA HANDBOOKS
LEISURE MEDIA WEBSITES
LEISURE MEDIA PRODUCT SEARCH
ATTRACTIONS MANAGEMENT NEWS
ATTRACTIONS HANDBOOK
PRINT SUBSCRIPTIONS
FREE DIGITAL SUBSCRIPTIONS