A thing of beauty is a joy forever. Its loveliness increases, it will never Pass into nothingness… - John Keats
We are back from fieldwork to bring to your inbox our biggest project yet, the Ancient Mediterranean Spring 2024 release, with over 50 virtual tours of new heritage sites and 500 3d artifact scans.
This has been the product of over a year of work with numerous teachers, technologists, cultural heritage workers, and our unending gratitude goes to each of them. Specifically, the professors and researchers across institutions at the New Alexandria Foundation have helped the various development stages.
As Keats’s lines state, “A thing of beauty is a joy forever,” but only the tireless and often thankless efforts of a small few ensure that they will never pass into nothingness.
Late into the early morning hours of building the tours, these lines would come back to me. In our time of anxiety about conflict and artificial intelligence, the best way to gain knowledge of our future is still to study our past, its intricacies and often stranger-than-fiction realities.
I hope that this is the start of a much larger project and would love to hear feedback and thoughts. The new spaces are released only in Free Explore mode until we can develop the guided tour scripts and 3d experiences more like the previous Tomb of Ramesses I guided tour. Some that are marked as “Coming soon” are still processing, and they’ll be available soon. Teachers have specifically requested to use the Free Explore mode while the guided or gamified versions were being developed. Check back often or follow our Instagram for updates as each is launched.
Finally, and most importantly, I dedicate this release to the people that continuously challenge and teach me–and inspired this work in the first place–my four friends, Andreas, Sally, Tessa, Talya.
New Virtual Tours and Artifacts from the Ancient Mediterranean
The best place to see the scans is our updated Explore Page, but I’ve included a few highlights in this email. These all are brand new 3d captures with a new frontend software package to use to explore them, so I’ll be working on fixing bugs and cleaning up data. Email [email protected] for questions or issues you run into – or use the “Ask a Question” chat button to report anything.
Tomb of Nefertari: https://mused.org/en/tours/923/tomb-of-nefertari-valley-of-the-queens
Tomb of Ramesses V and VI: https://mused.org/en/tours/924/tomb-of-ramesses-v-and-vi-valley-of-the-kings
The Colosseum (Flavian Amphitheater), Rome: https://mused.org/tours/928/the-colosseum-flavian-amphitheater-rome
Khazneh el-Far’oun, The Treasury, Petra, Jordan: https://mused.org/tours/929/khazneh-el-faroun-the-treasury-petra-jordan
The Library of Celsus, Ephesus, Turkey: https://mused.org/tours/930/the-library-of-celsus-ephesus-turkey
The Acropolis, Athens, Greece: https://mused.org/tours/931/the-acropolis-athens-greece
Great Sphinx, Giza, Egypt: https://giza.mused.org/en/tours/438/great-sphinx-of-giza
Temple of Apollo, Sounion, Greece: https://mused.org/tours/933/the-temple-of-apollo-sounion-greece
And more tours coming soon at spaces such as Abydos, Delphi, Eleusis, Ephesus, Hatshepsut’s Mortuary Temple, Karnak, Mosque of Mohamed Ali, Medinet Habu, Mycenae, Olympia, the Pantheon, Petra, the Roman Forum, the Valley of the Queens, and the Valley of the Kings.
The spaces will have guided interpretive materials in the future after their Free Explore modes are public.
The artifact scans are completed with the various researchers for connecting to the spaces where they originated or to serve as an example of what might have been in a tomb or temple, for example. They’re also available as standalone as the guided interpretative materials are being developed. Here are a few highlights:
Sarcophagus of Seti I, Sir John Soane Museum: https://mused.org/en/items/155463/sarcophagus-of-seti-i
Marforio, Oceanus, Capitoline Museum: https://mused.org/en/items/155302/marforio-statue-of-oceanus
Gayer Anderson Cat, British Museum: https://mused.org/en/items/155263/gayer-anderson-cat
East Pediment of the Parthenon at the British Museum: https://mused.org/en/items/155258/east-pediment-of-the-parthenon
East Pediment of the Parthenon, Acropolis Museum: https://mused.org/en/items/155114/east-pediment-parthenon
Reconstruction of the East Pediment of the Parthenon, Acropolis Museum: https://mused.org/en/items/155103/reconstruction-of-the-east-pediment-on-the-parthenon
Bust of Homer, British Museum: https://mused.org/en/items/155236/bust-of-homer
Prince Rahotep and wife Nofret: https://mused.org/en/items/155479/statues-of-prince-rahotep-and-wife-nofret
Statue of Thutmose III, Luxor Museum: https://mused.org/en/items/155387/statue-of-king-thutmose-iii
Statue of Bull, inscribed by Regalia, Herodes Atticus’s wife, Olympia: https://mused.org/en/items/155194/statue-of-bull-inscribed-by-regalia-herodes-atticuss-wife
Bust of Medusa, likely by Bernini, Capitoline Museum: https://mused.org/en/items/155297/bust-of-medusa-probably-by-bernini
Statue of Ramesses II, Grand Egyptian Museum: https://mused.org/en/items/155360/statue-of-ramesses-ii
Sobek and Amenhotep III, Luxor Museum: https://mused.org/en/items/155384/sobek-and-amenhotep-iii
Omphalos, Archaological Museum of Delphi, Greece: https://mused.org/en/items/155131/omphalos
Eleusis Plaque of Demeter and Persephone, Archaeological Museum of Eleuis: https://mused.org/en/items/155434/eleusis-plaque-of-demeter-and-persephone
Helmet of Militades, Archaeological Museum of Olympia: https://mused.org/en/items/155208/helmet-of-militades
Canopic Jars of Tutankhamun, Egyptian Museum in Cairo: https://mused.org/en/items/155316/canopic-jars-of-tutankhamun
Statue of Tutankhamun, Egyptian Museum in Cairo: https://mused.org/en/items/155349/statue-of-tutankhamun
Statue of Djoser, Egyptian Museum in Cairo: https://mused.org/en/items/155344/statue-of-djoser
Monumental Door, Museum of Islamic Art: https://mused.org/en/items/155424/monumental-door
Finally, the Belgian Archaeological Expedition Landrover outside the Marsam Hotel near Qurna, Egypt: https://mused.org/en/items/155218/belgian-archaeological-expedition-landrover
Radiance Field Rendering and Future Development
In the near future, I’m hoping to clean up this data and process each space into a neural radiance field, displayed via 3D Gaussian Splatting, or something similar. You can see an example of this working in the virtual space tour here:
The viewer in its current state where you can view the 360 images is a byproduct of my development in this area rather than the goal.
That’s it for this update–more space and artifacts to follow in the coming weeks, but I won’t send another email, so follow Instagram for updates.