VisCenter Distinguished Lecture: The State of 3D Modeling of Cultural Heritage: Massive 3D Mapping and Simpiricism

Bernard Frischer, Indiana University
March 12, 2015 - 12:30 PM
130 Woodward
In this talk, I will present my view of the current state of the application of 3D technologies to the study of cultural heritage. It seems to me that there are two interesting areas: massive 3D mapping of artifacts, monuments, and entire landscapes; and what I can "simpiricism," or the use of computer simulations to support empirical research of historic monuments and environments not otherwise possible without true time travel. As an example of the first, I will present my lab's work in progress in creating a 3D map of Atzompa, a Zapotec elite hilltop settlement just north of the World Heritage Site of Monte Albán near modern Oaxaca, Mexico. This project was initiated in January, 2015 in partnership with INAH. To exemplify the second topic, I will present my research group's reconstruction model of the northern Campus Martius in the reign of the Emperor Augustus. The model has been used to test the validity of a theory first proposed in 1976 by German historian Edmund Buchner according to which the Ara Pacis (13-9 BC) and first obelisk brought to Rome were positioned in such a way that the shadow of the obelisk reached the center of the Ara Pacis on the emperor's birthday. Bernard Frischer is a leading virtual archaeologist and the author of seven printed books, three e-books, and dozens of articles on virtual heritage, Classics, and the survival of the Classical world. He is the founding editor of Digital Applications in Archaeology and Cultural Heritage, an innovative online, peer-reviewed journal where scientists can publish interactive 3D models. Dr. Frischer is a Fellow of the Michigan Society of Fellows and a Fellow and trustee of the American Academy in Rome. He has overseen many significant modeling projects, including "Rome Reborn," the virtual recreation of the entire city of ancient Rome within the Aurelian Walls.