An Etruscan grave in 3D

11 Oct

Putting the final touch in the exhibition on Etruscans in the National Museum of Antiquities (photo: Daniel Pletinckx)

At the exhibitions in Amsterdam and Leiden, the last objects are put in the glass cases, the floor is cleaned and the spots are aligned.  The interactive VR application, showing the reconstructed Regolini-Galassi tomb, has been installed in the Allard Pierson Museum (APM) in Amsterdam and the National Museum of Antiquities (RMO) in Leiden.


Installation of the special projector by TechnoDesk (photo:Daniel Pletinckx)

The most innovative element of the application is the use of a natural interaction interface, which means that the user moves inside the 3D space just by walking around on a map of the tomb.

Etruscanning setup

Etruscanning setup : map, large screen and projector (photo:Daniel Pletinckx)

The public can explore the virtual tomb, see the digital artifacts in close-up, and listen to stories told by the prestigious Etruscan personages that were buried nearly 2700 years ago in the tomb.

Etruscanning setup

Exploring the tomb (photo:Daniel Pletinckx)

All this is possible by moving around in front of the projection, in a simple and natural way.  The user walks on a map of the real grave, attached to the floor, on which some hotspots are indicated.  Changing position from one hotspot to another, one moves also in the virtual space, exploring the tomb and the objects and triggering the storytelling.    This solution not only results in an amazing interaction for the public but allows also people of every age to enjoy the virtual content without any prior knowledge of 3D interaction.

Etruscanning setup

Storytelling through the objects of the tomb (photo:Daniel Pletinckx)

The story is told in the first person by the two people that are buried in the tomb.  They are ghosts, living today and knowing our culture and society, but guiding us around in their tomb just after the burial, speaking from their point of view of Etruscan nobility.  The stories are linked to the objects in the tomb, which are visualised in close-up, highlighted by extra virtual illumination.

Etruscanning setup

Outside view of the Regolini-Galassi tumulus (photo:Daniel Pletinckx)

The image is projected on a large 12 sqm screen from above by a special projector with mirrors, so that the visitor never gets in the way of the projected image.  Together with the physical involvement of the user, this produces a strong sensorial immersivity.

project team in RG tomb

The Etruscanning project team in the Regolini-Galassi tomb (photo:Daniel Pletinckx)

This VR installation in both museums is the first result of a two year multidisciplinary project Etruscanning that will be further developed  by the Allard Pierson Museum, CNR-ITABC and Visual Dimension, in close cooperation with the National Museum for Antiquities of the Netherlands, the Gallo-Roman museum of Tongeren, the Vatican Museums, the Soprintendenza dell’Etruria Meridionale di Villa Giulia and CNR-ISCIMA.

This blog is part of the Etruscanning project, that is been funded with support from the European Commission. This blog reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.



One Response to “An Etruscan grave in 3D”


  1. Successful opening of the exhibitions « Virtual reconstruction of Regolini-Galassi tomb - October 22, 2011

    […] for these exhibitions an interactive VR application to explore the Regolini-Galassi tomb through natural interaction.  The exhibition in the Allard Pierson Museum focuses on “Powerful Men“.  Images of […]

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