Virtual Reality, Relative Accuracy: Modelling Architecture and Sculpture with VRML

Michael Greenhalgh

in Images and Artefacts of the Ancient World

Published by British Academy

Published in print May 2005 | ISBN: 9780197262962
Published online February 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191734533 | DOI:

Series: British Academy Occasional Papers

Virtual Reality, Relative Accuracy: Modelling Architecture and Sculpture with VRML

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  • Archaeological Methodology and Techniques


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This chapter evaluates current possibilities for the attainment of a realistic context over the web by attempting to match the basic requirements of art history scholarship and teaching against what is currently offered and what can be expected in the future. It surveys some ongoing research in the field from the perspective of an observer and a user. The first section of the chapter discusses virtual reality modelling language (VRML) and describes a project of the Supercomputer Group at the Australian National University. This project aimed to model, using VRML, the Buddhist stupa at Borobudur. The chapter also discusses a second project which deals with the Piazza de Popolo at Rome and the reasons why this project did not employ VMRL. The second section of the chapter examines some other ways in which an ordinary lecturer may use various simple technologies to conjure context, and with more flexibility, detail and accuracy that VRML can ever achieve.

Keywords: realistic context; web; virtual reality modelling language; Supercomputer Group; VRML; Buddhist stupa; Piazza de Popolo; simple technologies

Chapter.  10448 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Archaeological Methodology and Techniques

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