Tag Archives: 3D virtual reconstruction

Etruscanning 3D at Palazzo delle Esposizioni in Rome

4 Aug

Objects from the Regolini Galassi tomb

Objects from the Regolini Galassi tomb on display

The Regolini Galassi tomb application was shown in Rome from the 15th of April till the 20th of July 2014 in the context of the exhibition Les Etrusques et la Méditerranée. La cité de Cerveteri/Gli Etruschi e il Mediterraneo. La città di Cerveteri, together with more than 450 masterpieces of the Etruscan culture.

Etruscanning system

The Etruscanning system at the exhibition in PalaExpo (photo: Eva Pietroni)

This exhibition showed several precious objects belonging to the Regolini-Galassi grave goods, together with the Sarcophagus of the Spouses (from the Louvre), the sculpted group of Greppe S. Angelo, terracotta objects from the museums of Berlin, Copenhagen and the Vatican Museum, finds from the Pyrgi sanctuary and some of the most recent discoveries carried out in the urban area of Cerveteri, in the necropolis and in the surrounding territories.  The exhibition showed the relationships that Etruscans had in the Mediterranean area through the history of Cerveteri, one of their most important cities. This exhibition was curated by F. Galulier, L. Haumesser, P. Santoro, V. Bellelli, A. Russo Tagliente and R. Cosentino.

Etruscanning system in action

The Etruscanning system in action (photo: Eva Pietroni)

The exhibition has been jointly organized by Louvre Lens and Palaexpo, thanks to the collaboration between the Département des antiquités grecques, étrusques et romaines of the Louvre, the Istituto di studi sulle civiltà italiche e del Mediterraneo antico of the CNR and the Soprintendenza per i beni archeologici dell’Etruria meridionale.  It had already been hosted in the Louvre Lens from the 5th December 2013 till the 10th of March 2014.

child using the Etruscanning system

A child using the Etruscanning system (photo: Eva Pietroni)


2013 in review

5 Jan

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 16,000 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 6 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Etruscanning 3D wins the Italian Heritage Award 2013

12 Nov

On October 4, 2013, the VR visualisation of the Regolini-Galassi tomb, as part of the Etruscanning 3D project, was awarded the Italian Heritage Award for Communication and Dissemination of Cultural Heritage.  The award was given to Eva Pietroni of CNR-ITABC, who was coordinating the technical part of the project.

Eva Pietroni

Eva Pietroni (CNR-ITABC) receives the Italian Heritage Award for the Etruscanning 3D project (photo: Bartolomeo Trabassi, CNR-ITABC)

The Etruscanning 3D  team is very honoured to receive this prestigious award and wants to thank all involved partners and people that made this possible.

Etruscanning team

From left to right: Maurizio Sannibale (Vatican Museums), arch. Paolo Salonia (director CNR-ITABC), Augusto Palombini and Eva Pietroni (CNR-ITABC), Iefke Van Kampen (Museo dell’Agro Veientano), photo: Bartolomeo Trabassi, CNR-ITABC

In the meantime, Etruscanning is preparing for its last stop in its world tour as part of the Italia del Futuro tour, it will go to Budapest.

Yesterday the exhibition The Etruscans – Una Storia Particolare closed after a very successful prolongation and 88.005 visitors!  The Etruscanning setup performed flawlessly. Thanks to the team of the Tongeren museum!  The virtual Regolini-Galassi tomb can be seen permanently in the Etruscan division of the Vatican Museums.

Monte Michele

Monte Michele Tomb no. 5 application at the Digital Heritage Expo (photo: Daniel Pletinckx)

In the last week of October 2013, the Monte Michele Tomb application was demonstrated at the Digital Heritage Expo in Marseille.  More than 5000 visitors were exploring the latest developments in digital heritage, including the attendees of the Digital Heritage 2013 conference. The application itself will be installed soon in the Villa Giulia museum in Rome. You can find a preview of the application here.

This blog is part of the Etruscanning 3D project, that is being partially 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.


Etruscanning 3D installed in the Vatican Museums

7 Apr

On April 4, 2013, the latest version of the Etruscanning 3D application was inaugurated in the Museo Gregoriano Etrusco in the Vatican Museums.  The installation consists of a non-interactive film that is displayed in Room 2 where the Regolini-Galasssi objects are displayed, and an interactive 3D application with a natural interaction interface in Room 16. On multiple screens within the Vatican Museums, an introduction film to the application was shown.

Vatican museums entrance

Part of the Etruscanning team at the entrance of the Vatican Museums in front of the Etruscanning promo film (from left to right: Wim Hupperetz, René van Beek, Daniel Pletinckx, Christie Ray, Judith Vos, photo: Veerle Delange)

Press conference room

Many people attended the project presentation at the press conference room of the Vatican (photo: Daniel Pletinckx)

The inauguration of the installation was proceeded by presentations by the involved project partners, introduced by Antonio Paolucci, director of the Vatican Museums.  Maurizio Sannibale, curator of the Gregorian Etruscan Museum, provided an introduction to the Regolini-Galassi tomb, and Wim Hupperetz, director of the Allard Pierson Museum and Etruscanning project coordinator, presented the project and the resulting publication.


Presentations were given by Antonio Paolucci (middle), Wim Hupperetz (left) and Maurizio Sannibale (right) (photo: Sofia Pescarin)

Salvatore Garraffo, director of CNR-ITABC, introduced the technology used in the project, while Eva Pietroni (CNR-ITABC) and Daniel Pletinckx (Visual Dimension bvba) explained the natural interaction interface, the digitisation of the museum objects and their digital restoration.  Rita Cosentino (Soprintendenza all’Etruria Meridionale) and Vincenzo Bellelli (CNR-ISMA) provided a wider context for the Regolini-Galassi tomb and its objects.

Introduction film

Introduction film to the virtual reconstruction of the Regolini-Galassi tomb in its museum room (photo: Daniel Pletinckx)

After the presentations, the installation was inaugurated.  In Room 2, where all objects of the Regolini-Galassi tomb are on display, a large screen shows the virtual reconstruction of the tomb with the digitally restored objects integrated in the tomb.  In this way, the objects are shown in their original context in their original state, providing the visitors with an even better appreciation and understanding of the objects.  The film invites the visitors also to use the interactive application, which is located in nearby room (room 16), due to the lack of sufficient space in the Regolini-Galassi room.

Natural interaction interface

Interactive Etruscanning application using a natural interaction interface (photo: Daniel Pletinckx)

In the interactive application, the visitor navigates through the tomb and selects objects and their related stories through simple, natural gestures (such as right arm forward for moving forward) detected by a Kinect camera. When starting, the visitor can select a language (Italian, English, Dutch) and can practice the navigation and object selection when approaching the virtual tomb.  Once inside, the visitor can explore the entrance, antechamber, cella, left and right niche of the tomb with all its objects in place, select specific objects and listen to the stories connected to the objects.  This video shows how it works in English or Italian.

Many newspapers, magazines and news websites covered this inauguration. To name a few: La Repubblica, Il Messagero, Radio Vaticana, Gizmondo, Buone Notizie, Reset Italia, Good News, ArcheoMatica, …

This blog is part of the Etruscanning 3D project, that is being partially 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.


New version of the Regolini-Galassi tomb visualisation

26 Nov

After quite a long break, we’re back to continue to update this blog.  CNR-ITABC in Rome has been working hard on creating a new version that has been demonstrated at the Italian Science Festival in Genua (Oct 25 – Nov 4, 2012) and at the ArcheoVirtual exhibition that took place in the context of the Borsa Mediterranea del Turismo Archeologico in Paestum, Italy (Nov 15-18, 2012).

New version of Regolini-Galassi tomb 3D application

New version of Regolini-Galassi tomb 3D application (image: CNR-ITABC)

At the Science Festival,  many children could use the application, which was hosted and evaluated by the V-MusT European network.  The V-MusT stand had about 4000 visitors.

Etruscanning3D at Genova

Etruscanning3D at Science Festival in Genova

At ArcheoVirtual, where a large number of new virtual museum applications where demonstrated, the Etruscanning3D application was also evaluated by the V-MusT team.  The visitors were very positive about the new application.

Etruscanning3D at ArcheoVirtual

Etruscanning3D at ArcheoVirtual 2012

At ArcheoVirtual, Etruscanning3D received the Award for best application in the category “New Interaction” and was the virtual museum that was appreciated the most by the visitors of the exhibition.

ArcheoVirtual Award ceremony

Etruscanning 3D receives the “New Interaction Award” at ArcheoVirtual 2012

The new version not only contains many more digitally restored objects, but allows also to navigate freely through the tomb and to select objects.  You will read more about the digital restoration of the objects in the next posts of this blog.

restored holmos

The restored holmos at the entrance of the Regolini-Galassi tomb (image:CNR-ITABC)

restored shields

The restored bronze shields in the Regolini-Galassi tomb (image:CNR-ITABC)

main chamber

The main burial chamber (image: CNR-ITABC)

In April 2013, the new version of the Etruscanning3D application will be installed permanently in the Vatican Museums.

The Disc Fibula revisited

11 Dec

The ongoing exhibition Etruscans at the Allard Pierson Museum in Amsterdam and the National Museum for Antiquities in Leiden brings together many splendid Etruscan objects from several Italian museums.  Through the Etruscanning VR application, many more objects are shown in a digital way.  One of the most splendid objects that is shown in this VR application is a large golden disc fibula, that is shown on the body of the deceased princess that was buried in the Regolini-Galassi tomb.

disc fibula

Golden disc fibula from the Regolini-Galassi tomb, dated 675-650 BC (photo: Vatican Museums)

Only a few similar objects are known (see two images below).  Maurizio Sannibale, the curator of the Museo Gregoriano Etrusco, where this large disc fibula resides, considers this object as a symbol of the transition from life (the top disc) to the afterlife (the bottom curved element) over the rivers (the middle bars) that separate the world and the underworld.

disc fibula München

Disc fibula from Ponte Sodo (Staatliche Antikensammlungen 2331, München)

In this double exhibition in Amsterdam and Leiden, several objects are shown from the Etruscan collection of the Allard Pierson museum itself.  Three of them are nice but small disc fibulae in bronze, that resemble another small disc fibula in gold in the British Museum, probably coming from Etruria.

disc fibula British Museum

Etruscan disc fibula in gold, dated 825-775 BC (photo: British Museum)

disc fibula British Museum

Detail Etruscan disc fibula, dated 825-775 BC (photo: British Museum)

However, these disc fibulae from the Allard Pierson Museum reveal an important secret.  As can be seen on the photograph below, all three fibulae are very similar in shape, structure and size to the one in British Museum.

disc fibulae APM

Three Etruscan disc fibulae from the Allard Pierson Museum (photo: Christie Ray)

Only the fibula on the left (see image above) has a middle part that depicts the river and has a slightly different bow.  All three fibulae carry the same decoration (see images below) as the one in British Museum: the  squares (maybe sun crosses) or swastikas on the top disc, the two or three bands that surround the top disc and seem to depict rivers through zigzag lines, the zigzag lines on the middle horizontal bar, probably depicing water and the zigzag lines on the bottom bow part.  When we compare these four small disc fibulae with the two bigger ones that are depicted above, we see a striking analogy of the same symbols that appear on the same parts with very similar shapes.  If we assume that the top disc depicts the world, this reveals the known depiction of the world surrounded by water on all sides, which is the first world model from the Bronze Age .

disc fibula APM

Close-up view of left disc fibula (photo: Christie Ray)

disc fibula APM

Close-up view of middle disc fibula (photo: Allard Pierson Museum)

disc fibula APM - detail

Detail of middle disc fibula with swastikas (photo: Allard Pierson Museum)

Closer inspection also reveals that the middle and the right fibula had also a horizontal bar attached on the small bow that protrudes just below the disc (see image above). In other words, we can assume quite safely that all fibulae shown here had a horizontal bar. This makes the similarity even more striking. Note the horizontal bar probably detached easily as the surface of the small bow, on which it was soldered, was very small, hence proving that such fibulae were used for funeral purposes only.

Based on this knowledge, we can identify many more disc fibulae that have the same characteristics: the disc (world) surrounded by sets of lines (water, rivers) and carrying depictions of life or swastikas, the small bow, to which the horizontal bar (river) was attached (but which is easily lost) and the bow, on which zigzag lines seem to depict water. Below, we show one from British Museum, which is older than the other fibulae shown above.

disc fibula British Museum

Disc fibula, dated 1000-880 BC, from Italy (photo: British Museum)

disc fibula British Museum

Disc fibula, dated 1000-880 BC, from Italy (photo: British Museum)

Many more fibulae can be identified if we allow a slightly wider variety of depictions of the same symbols. In the one below, from British Museum, the disc fibula below symbolises the waters around the “world” through one single ripple, very similar to the Ponte Sodo fibula shown above, while the water on the bow is symbolised through discs.

disc fibula British Museum

Disc fibula, dated 800-700BC, from Italy (photo: British Museum)

disc fibula British Museum

Disc fibula, dated 800-700BC, from Italy (photo: British Museum)

So, what has this to do with the virtual reconstruction of the Regolini-Galassi tomb?  We have proposed two hypotheses concerning the placement of the fibula on the body of the deceased: or it is placed on top of the face, or it is placed on the abdomen.

From the analysis above, we can conclude that the Regolini-Galassi disc fibula is not a decorative object, adorning the body of the deceased, but relates to an old symbol that seems to carry a consistent message of transition to afterlife, as the decoration and shape of these fibulae remain nearly identical over several centuries.

When trying to interpret this particular shape and decoration, we can make the link to the belief of the Etruscans that dying was being reborn.  We could interpret the bow of these fibulae as the expanded abdomen or “baby bump” of women, the water symbol on the bow as depicting the water that surrounds the fetus.  As each of the three parts of the fibulae carries the symbol of water, they probably also stress that water is the symbol of life, from birth to death.

In this sense, these fibulae probably can be compared to an Iron age bronze fibula from a grave in Lorestan, Iran, on which a woman is giving birth.

Lorestan fibula Louvre

Lorestan fibula, Iran, dated 1500-700 BC (photo: Louvre museum, Paris)

To conclude, we can state that the Regolini-Galassi disc fibula has a much higher chance of being positioned on the abdomen than being positioned on the face, not only because of size of the object but especially because of the symbolism of the object.

This blog is part of the Etruscanning project, that is being 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.


Update on the 3D reconstruction of the RG tomb

2 Sep

We made an update of the 3D model of the Regolini-Galassi tomb, implementing the latest conclusions and adding the objects that still were missing.  Recent research by CNR-ITABC has shown that there is a floor under the current deposit of mud and that the dromos (entrance area of the grave) was still sloping downward (at a few degrees) towards the antechamber that has a level floor.  This aspect has not been implemented in this reconstruction yet for simplicity.  As explained in a earlier post, we choose to put the 6-headed lebes on top of the bronze holmos.

tomb 010911 1

View on the dromos (3D reconstruction: Visual Dimension)

tomb 010911 4

View on the antechamber (3D reconstruction: Visual Dimension)

We reconstructed the biga (war chariot) and have put it inside the right niche, next to the cinerary urn that contains the ashes of the warrior.  We verified that the reconstructed biga, as present in the storage of the Museo Gregoriano Etrusco (but not currently on display as there are some doubts about the reconstruction), can enter the tomb and the niche when taken apart.  The beam that connects the chariot to the horses (see photograph below) is not depicted but could fit inside the niche.

tomb 010911 11

View inside the right niche (3D reconstruction: Visual Dimension)


Reconstructed biga, based upon remains in the right niche (photo: Vatican Museums)

The left niche has a large collection of storage vessels (ollae) and other utilitarian vessels (many of the smaller ones are not depicted).  The bronze vessel in the foreground (see image below) is a Villanovan urn that is clearly older than the other objects in the tomb, probably containing the ashes of an ancestor (see also photograph below).  We also have put there the Etruscan inkpot (see also photograph below) that is said to have been found in the Regolini-Galassi tomb.  The object is quite fascinating, as it is covered by Etruscan writing, but its function and its provenance are quite unclear.  This delicate object looks like it does not belong to a storage room, maybe it should go into the cella or the right niche, as very little is known were it was found during the excavation.

tombe 010911 13

View inside the left niche (3D reconstruction: Visual Dimension)

Villanovan urn

Bronze Villanovan urn from the RG tomb (photo: Daniel Pletinckx)


Small bucchero vase - so called inkpot - with Etruscan inscriptions (photo: Daniel Pletinckx)

We started putting in also most of the larger objects in the cella.  As explained in an earlier post, we have choosen to put the two large lebetes on their respective tripods in the cella.  We have added several paterae, a ribbed one (only partially preserved), an undecorated one (see photograph below), and a silver kylix (shallow bowl with foot, see photograph below) plus a set of bronze vessels (see photograph below).

tomb 010911 15

View inside the cella (3D reconstruction: Visual Dimension)

silver patera

Undecorated silver patera - unrestored - with nail in the middle (photo: Daniel Pletinckx)


Silver kylix with golden handles and nail (middle bottom) (photo: Daniel Pletinckx)

ten bronze basins

A set of ten bronze vessels from the RG tomb (photo: Vatican Museums)

On the floor, we have put a large collection of silverware, that is most probably related to the funeral banquet.  Most of these splendid objects therefore suffered from corrosion or from the partial collapse of the roof.

tomb 010911 18

View inside the cella with a large set of silver vessels on the floor (3D reconstruction: Visual Dimension)

silver bowl

One out of five silver bowls (photo: Daniel Pletinckx)

silver kotyle

One out of six silver kotyle vases (photo: Daniel Pletinckx)

silver pitcher

One out of two silver pitchers (photo: Daniel Pletinckx)

silver vase

Small silver vase with golden handles (photo: Daniel Pletinckx)

Some objects nevertheless remain enigmatic. For example, there are four nearly identical decorated bronze discs (see image below), two discs have a lion walking to the left, the other two have a lion walking to the right.  Currently, there is no idea what these discs are or how they were used.  They are too small (40 cm diameter) to be considered as shields, and don’t have the right form to be considered as paterae.

bronze disc

One of four, nearly identical, bronze decorated discs (photo: Daniel Pletinckx)

All four discs have nail holes, like many other objects in the RG tomb. These nail holes however are quite different, they appear in pairs all around the rim (see image below) and are quite small. The nails are in bronze and appear to have fixed the disc on a softer material than stone, probably wood.  The object should be symmetrical to accomodate these 2 by 2 identical discs.  At this moment however, there is no object in the RG tomb that could have served as an obvious basis for these discs.

nail holes

One of the bronze discs with indication of the nail holes (photo: Vatican Museums)

Until recently, a reconstruction of the 4-wheeled chariot, that was used probably to transport the corpse of the warrior, was presented in the Museo Gregoriano Etrusco in the Vatican.  Currently, it isn’t on display anymore as the museum wants to revise the reconstruction. This chariot is currently the only known object in the tomb that could be asscociated with these four bronze discs.  The discs could fit on the wheels and cover the protruding wheel axes. Below, you will find the 3D dummy model of this reconstructed chariot without and with the discs.

cart without discs

Current reconstruction of the 4-wheeled chariot (reconstruction: Visual Dimension)

cart with discs

Alternative reconstruction of the 4-wheeled chariot with the bronze discs attached to the wheels (reconstruction: Visual Dimension)

The result is plausible but not really convincing, the discs are somewhat too small (40 cm diameter) to fit on the presumed wheels (67 cm diameter).  Research needs to be conducted on other chariots from other tombs.

It is considered quite improbable that the discs would have been fitted on the outside of the biga.  So, there aren’t any other alternatives available for the moment, it is completely unclear on what object these discs go.  If you have any idea, please do leave a reaction!

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.