Virtual Archaeology

In the project 'Virtual reality as a basis for archaeological research and its possible applications in the conservation and restoration of cultural assets, using the example of the visualisation of an ancient sanctuary, its structural features, its development over time and its position in space on the basis of realistic and detailed 3D documentation', which was funded by the Institute for Applied Research (IfaF) from spring 2010 to the end of 2011, interdisciplinary methods were developed in order to be able to answer scientific questions on the basis of realistic and detailed 3D documentation and its visualisation.

The case study is an extraordinary, richly decorated ancient building that has been researched by the Conservation and Restoration / Excavation Technology course over the last one and a half decades: the temple of the weather god of Aleppo in Syria from the 3rd to early 1st millennium BC. The weather god played a supra-regional role in the ancient Near East, which is reflected in the enormous dimensions of the temple and its extraordinary relief decoration. The structure was excavated from 1996-2006 with funding from the Gerda Henkel Foundation, the World Monument Fund and the German Research Foundation. With archaeological and geoarchaeological studies on its surroundings, the HTW is also involved in the excellence cluster TOPOI. The aim is to be able to create well-founded reconstructions of the building and its architectural decoration, as well as to embed 3D modelling in the spatial environment, i.e. a georeferenced reference system. In the broader archaeological framework, the questions are: why was the site chosen as a sanctuary, or what spatial references can be verified on the basis of the visualisation.