“Rome Reborn” by Frischer, Abernathy, Guidi, Myers, Thibodeau, et al. …

  • ©Bernard Frischer, Dean Abernathy, Gabriele Guidi, Joel Myers, Cassie Thibodeau, Antonio Salvemini, Pascal Müller, Peter Hofstee, and Barry Minor


    Rome Reborn (www.romereborn.virginia.edu) is an international initiative, started in 1996 and based at the Institute for Advanced Technology in the Humanities (IATH; see www.iath.virginia.edu), to create 3D urban models illustrating the development of ancient Rome from the first settlement in the late Bronze Age (ca. 1,000 B.C.) to the depopulation of the city in the early Middle Ages (ca. A.D. 550). Other institutional partners have included the Politecnico di Milano, UCLA, the Université de Caen, and the Ausonius Institute at the Université de Bordeaux-III. Commercial rights to Rome Reborn have been exclusively licensed to Past Perfect Productions s.r.l., a corporation based in Rome, Italy (http://www.pastperfectproductions.com/).

    Rome Reborn is based on the key ideas of collaborative research and scholarly communication. Each element of the city model is created by a team of subject experts working closely with experts in 3D modeling and other pertinent technologies. Thus far, over a dozen archaeologists from Italy, the United States, France, Germany, and the United Kingdom have participated in the project. When a team’s contribution to the overall urban model is completed, the subject experts sign a form declaring the model complete and ready for public dissemination. The resulting model is scholarly not only in the sense that it has qualified authors but also because it offers the user transparency of evidence and argument: along with the 3D model, the project always publishes related metadata and archaeological documentation. Once the model and its documentation are georeferenced, they can be seamlessly linked in the user interface. As you explore the model, you can stop and open a window that explains the evidence and hypotheses behind the reconstruction you are seeing on the screen.