Archaeologists and building researchers are combining their most recent published research on the monuments and urban areas of Ephesos. These will form the basis for the digital visualisation which will then be created by the Austrian company 7reasons Medien GmbH, which specialises in the multimedia presentation of research results.
Visualisations have always been part of the methodological repertoire of archaeologists and building researchers. Graphical reconstructions also have a long tradition at the Austrian Archaeological Institute, which is leading the excavations at Ephesos.
They have been used both to depict buildings and to give impressions of the whole city. By the end of the 20th century, hand-drawn, detailed views and perspective drawings had been replaced by digitally modelled visualisations.
The main priority for the »Ephesus 4D project« is the need for the virtual model to be scientifically accurate and long-lasting. The latest research results will be stored in the metadata for the models of individual monuments, so it will still be possible to review the underlying information in the future.
The same is true of the various work stages involved in producing the visualisation. It will be important for scientists to be able to trace those as they continue to use and evaluate the virtual model.
What’s more, because the research is ongoing, it must be ensured that the visualisation can be updated as new findings become available, with the previous versions being archived. This requires careful data management, which is being conducted in this project in compliance with international standards on the computer-based visualisation of cultural heritage.
The virtual models of Ephesos in Imperial times and in Late Antiquity will bring a new dimension to the way the results of research into the history of the city are portrayed and presented, and they will have many different applications. For example, they could be used in exhibitions, documentary films and print media, or on websites or social media platforms.
At the same time, the advanced methodology of the models opens up new options for future analysis in the fields of historical architecture and urban planning, using digital tools and simulations.
• Austrian Archaeological Institute (OeAI)
Gudrun Styhler-Aydιn, OeAIrun Styhler-Aydιn