Virtual Seminar recorded on Zoom, 4th September 2020.

Also check out the blog post by Yannick!

Death in a Digital World: the (re)construction of a Bronze Age tomb from Ayios Vasileios, Greece, using Virtual Reality

Speaker: Yannick de Raaff (presenter); project with Sofia Voutsaki, Theo Verlaan, Gary Nobles, with help from the Reality Centre at University of Groningen Speaker affiliation: Groningen Institute of Archaeology, University of Groningen

Abstract: During this seminar I shall present our work on the reconstruction of a built tomb found in the early Mycenaean (Bronze Age) cemetery of Ayios Vasileios, mainland Greece (approx. 1700-1420 BC). Built (Chamber) Tombs belong to a range of tombs with experimental design that appear in the late Middle Helladic and Early Late Helladic period, in a period characterised by innovations in the mortuary realm and changing social conditions. The collapsed tomb contained a large mass of stones that were arguably originally part of the superstructure, yet the exact form of cover or roof, and the way it was entered are not known. To understand the construction, use and collapse of the tomb, a number of digital techniques have been applied, such as Structure from Motion (also referred to as Photogrammetry) to record the remains of the tomb, and Virtual Reality to build and test various roof constructions. The objective of this study is to reconstruct what the most likely roof design was and how the tomb was re-entered for additional inhumations. We propose that the tomb was covered by a stone cairn, supported by a number of horizontally placed wooden beams, which broke due to natural decay and caused the stones to tumble inwards. The tomb received a large number of burials (25+), all from above, which means the roof was dismantled and rebuilt every time.