In an interesting synthesis of contributions from architects, archaeologists and Roman historians, the Institute for Advanced Technology in the Humanities over at the University of Virginia, has announced that they have rebuilt Rome… digitally. Rome’s ColosseumThey spent the last 10 years compiling architectural data, from model of the city kept at a museum, of 7,000 buildings to make a 3-D model of the city.

I got word of this thru BBC News, but Afarensis also broke the word after reading Science Daily‘s report on it.

The simulation takes place in AD320, which is said to be the city’s peak, when it had grown to a million inhabitants.

I’ve checked out the videos and the images, posted on the project’s website: RomeReborn 1.0 and they are impressive. A word of caution, before you jump on over to watch the videos… preemptively turn down your speakers’ volume. Take my advice, I practically blew out my ear drums. Aside from having incredible loud music, the videos and images, do exactly what the project’s purpose is to do… to represent Roman civilization at its height.

From a cultural heritage point of view, this is a cool project. It feels like a really specialized version of CyArk, a similar project aimed at creating 3D models of cultural heritage sites and archiving them on the internet before the real buildings begin to collapse and disappear.

Speaking of cultural heritage and important sites, I stumbled up on news that the World Monument Fund updated its list of the top 100 endangered sites for 2008 this week. Many of these sites are threatened by the effects of global warming & climate change, such as erosion, rising water tables, and pollutants in the air.

Bringing all this news together, it will be really cool if people begin to improve upon CyArk and RomeReborn technologies and start documenting and gathering data on these endangered sites before they disappear.

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