Date:

Researchers have rebuilt a Pompeian house in virtual reality

Researchers have rebuilt a house from the Roman city of Pompeii using virtual reality, to better understand the motivations behinds Roman design and contemporary architecture.

Pompeii is located in the modern commune of Pompei near Naples in the Campania region of Italy. At its peak, Pompeii had a population of around 20,000 inhabitants and became an important passage for goods arriving by sea.

- Advertisement -

Pompeii, along with Herculaneum and many villas in the surrounding area was buried under 4 to 6 m (13 to 20 ft) of volcanic ash and pumice in the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in AD 79.

Researchers from the Laboratoriet för Digital Arkeologi, the Humanities laboratory at Lund University, in collaboration with the Pompeii Project have now constructed a virtual reality environment in order to indicate how visual attention was an important consideration of Roman architecture.

“Work and daily activities were intermingled during the day. The house communicated to people about the personal power and status of the owner and his family,” said Danilo Marco Campanaro, a PhD candidate from Lund University and co-author of the research.

However, studying this element of Roman house design has been challenging. The damage caused by centuries of neglect, weathering, and volcanoes hides many of the eye-catching nuances Romans built into their homes.

- Advertisement -
virt2
Image Credit : Antiquity

Advances in computer reconstructions have helped shed light on this issue but now Danilo Marco Campanaro and Dr Giacomo Landeschi from Lund University are taking it a step further. Their research, published in the journal Antiquity, used spatial analysis and eye-tracking to monitor volunteers as they explored a Roman house in virtual reality.

“Eye-tracking technology and virtual reality do now provide unprecedented opportunities to assess the visual qualities of ancient spaces,” said Dr Giacomo Landeschi. It allowed them to carry out experiments where they measure the visual attention of volunteers as they toured the house, tracking what caught their eyes.

The volunteers were exploring a virtual reconstruction of House of the Greek Epigrams, an impressive home in northeast Pompeii once decorated with lavish frescoes. It was destroyed in the eruption of Vesuvius in AD 79. The house was modelled in 3D, complete with restored paintings, and imported into the videogame engine Unity to explore in VR.

“The results of this study show how the owner of the house stimulated the visitor’s senses to convey a message about its power and wealth,” said Danilo Marco Campanaro.

This adds to the growing list of architectural tricks Romans employed when designing their houses. Previous research had found some owners used angled walls and raised floors so the interior might appear bigger to people looking in through the front door.

As such, these initial results indicate such experiments can help shed light on why the Romans designed their houses the way they did. However, the researchers note it is only scratching the surface of strategies Romans used to impress visitors to their home.

“The next step in this study could be to overlap the results with multisensory research that includes olfaction and auditory involvement,” said Dr Giacomo Landeschi. Find out more

Antiquity

Header Image Credit : Antiquity

- Advertisement -
spot_img
Mark Milligan
Mark Milligan
Mark Milligan is multi-award-winning journalist and the Managing Editor at HeritageDaily. His background is in archaeology and computer science, having written over 7,500 articles across several online publications. Mark is a member of the Association of British Science Writers (ABSW), the World Federation of Science Journalists, and in 2023 was the recipient of the British Citizen Award for Education, the BCA Medal of Honour, and the UK Prime Minister's Points of Light Award.
spot_img
spot_img

Mobile Application

spot_img

Related Articles

Excavation uncovers traces of the first bishop’s palace at Merseburg Cathedral Hill

Archaeologists from the State Office for Monument Preservation and Archaeology (LDA) Saxony-Anhalt have uncovered traces of the first bishop’s palace at the southern end of the Merseburg Cathedral Hill in Merseburg, Germany.

BU archaeologists uncover Iron Age victim of human sacrifice

Archaeologists from Bournemouth University have uncovered an Iron Age victim of human sacrifice in Dorset, England.

Archaeologists find ancient papyri with correspondence made by Roman centurions

Archaeologists from the University of Wrocław have uncovered ancient papyri that contains the correspondence of Roman centurions who were stationed in Egypt.

Study indicates that Firth promontory could be an ancient crannog

A study by students from the University of the Highlands and Islands has revealed that a promontory in the Loch of Wasdale in Firth, Orkney, could be the remains of an ancient crannog.

Archaeologists identify the original sarcophagus of Ramesses II

Archaeologists from Sorbonne University have identified the original sarcophagus of Ramesses II, otherwise known as Ramesses the Great.

Archaeologists find missing head of Deva from the Victory Gate of Angkor Thom

Archaeologists from Cambodia’s national heritage authority (APSARA) have discovered the long-lost missing head of a Deva statue from the Victory Gate of Angkor Thom.

Archaeologists search crash site of WWII B-17 for lost pilot

Archaeologists from Cotswold Archaeology are excavating the crash site of a WWII B-17 Flying Fortress in an English woodland.

Roman Era tomb found guarded by carved bull heads

Archaeologists excavating at the ancient Tharsa necropolis have uncovered a Roman Era tomb guarded by two carved bull heads.