Archaeology and augmented reality technology
Have you ever visited an archaeological site filled with the ruins of a once-thriving city and wished you could see it the way it looked in antiquity? A new mobile app promises to do just that.
Archaeologist Kevin Fisher of the University of British Columbia has partnered with engineers at UBC’s Media and Graphics Interdisciplinary Centre (MAGIC) to create an augmented reality mobile app for the Late Bronze Age site of Kalavasos-Ayios Dhimitrios in Cyprus.
Called KAD-AR, the app would work like this: Walking around the ruins of Kalavasos-Ayios Dhimitrios, you could point your phone toward a certain area to pull up a visual reconstruction of that area, expert commentaries on what you’re looking at and a host of other related information, including archaeological finds from that area.
With rich copper mines in the island’s Troodos Mountains, Cyprus prospered in the Late Bronze Age (c. 1650–1100 B.C.E.) due to its role as a major supplier of copper—an essential component of bronze. Well positioned at the intersection of north-south and east-west communication and trade routes, Kalavasos-Ayios Dhimitrios became an important urban center filled with well-defined streets, monumental buildings and elite burials.
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“My research focuses on how past built environments shaped social interaction, especially how architecture was used to structure things like movement and physical and visual access to particular spaces,” Fisher said in an email to Bible History Daily. “As part of my current project, the Kalavasos and Maroni Built Environments (KAMBE) Project, we’ve been collecting a lot of digital data on the urban spaces of Kalavasos-Ayios Dhimitrios using geophysics, laser scanning and photogrammetry and creating 3D models to reconstruct and visualize this ancient city.”
The KAMBE Project has been integrating the digital data using emerging augmented reality technology to help the researchers better visualize and understand the ancient city. Fisher was then inspired to use the cutting-edge technology to benefit visitors to the archaeological site.
Augmented reality technology “would help the visitors make some sense of what might otherwise be a confusing complex of ruined walls and hopefully give them some idea of what the site was like back in the Late Bronze Age,” Fisher said.
The KAD-AR app is currently being developed for iOS and Android mobile operating systems. The UBC researchers hope to have a beta version of the app out by the end of the year.
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