Tag Archives: Allard Pierson museum

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 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

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.

 

Etruscanning3D in Tongeren

18 Mar

On March 15, 2013, the Gallo-Roman museum of Tongeren, Belgium opened a great exhibition on the Etruscans, named Una Storia Particolare. The exhibition shows a excellent selection of Etruscan objects and ends with the Regolini-Galassi tomb.  Many objects on display are on loan from the Allard Pierson Museum in Amsterdam, the National Museum of Antiquities in Leiden and the Vatican Museums.

Regolini-Galassi room

Room dedicated to the Regolini-Galassi tomb (photo: Daniel Pletinckx)

In a separate room, the contour of Regolini-Galassi tomb has been depicted on the floor and some of the objects from the tomb are on display, positioned on the same place as in the original tomb. Key objects which are on display are the six-headed lebes and the bronze holmos.

Regolini-Galassi room

Objects from the Regolini-Galassi tomb (photo: Daniel Pletinckx)

Next to the objects from the Regolini-Galassi, the Etruscanning3D application has been installed, showing the tomb and about 80 digitally restored objects in an interactive way through virtual reality.  This serious games setup is based upon a Kinect camera and uses the version of the software with the hotspots.

Etruscanning3D

The Etruscanning3D application in the Tongeren museum (photo: Daniel Pletinckx)

The exhibition is open until August 25, 2013.  More practical information can be found 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.

 

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.

 

The Etruscanning application at ArcheoVirtual

23 Nov

Every year, the Virtual Heritage Lab at CNR-ITABC organises the ArcheoVirtual exhibition at the Borsa Mediterranea del Turismo Archeologico and shows the best applications in archaeological visualisation.  This year, the V-MusT.net Network of Excellence, coordinated by CNR-ITABC, used the venue to organise two workshops on museum technology plus several other meetings.

ArcheoVirtual

ArcheoVirtual organiser and V-MusT coordinator Sofia Pescarin (right) with Mohamed Farouk (left) and Karim Omar (middle) of CultNat, Egypt, at the ArcheoVirtual exhibition (photo: Selma Rizvic)

One of the ArcheoVirtual stands that attracted the most interest was Etruscanning with the VR visualisation of the Etruscan Regolini-Galassi tomb. The application on display was the improved, second version in Italian.  We made a small video on how this second version of the VR application on the Regolini-Galassi tomb looks like.

Etruscanning at ArcheoVirtual

The Etruscanning application at ArcheoVirtual (photo: Selma Rizvic)

Work continues to improve the digital museum objects through digital restoration and image based digitisation.  The Dutch version of this improved application will be installed soon in Amsterdam and Leiden.

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.

 

Successful opening of the exhibitions

22 Oct

Logo of the double exhibition Etruscans: Eminent Women, Powerful Men

On October 13, 2011, the double exhibition  Etruscans was opened in Amsterdam in the aula of the University of Amsterdam, attended by 700 people, including a large Italian delegation, with representatives of the museums that cooperate in these exhibitions and the Etruscanning team.

academic_opening

Academic opening of the Etruscans exhibition in the aula of the University of Amsterdam (photo: Daniel Pletinckx)

This academic session was opened by Wim Hupperetz, director of the Allard Pierson Museum and coordinator of the Etruscanning project, which created 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 the setup in Amsterdam can be found in the previous blog entry.

WIm Hupperetz

Presentation by Wim Hupperetz (photo: Daniel Pletinckx)

On October 14, 2011, the exhibition on Etruscans opened in the National Museum of Antiquities in Leiden, focused on “Eminent Women“.   As the Etruscanning VR application shows the Regolini-Galassi tomb, in which both a leading woman and man were buried, it is shown in both exhibitions.  Below are two images showing the setup in Leiden during the evening of the opening in which around 1300 people visited the museum.

RMO_etruscanning_1

A young museum visitor using the Etruscanning VR application in RMO Leiden (photo: Daniel Pletinckx)

RMO_etruscanning_1

The interactive projection of the Regolini-Galassi tomb attracts a lot of visitors (photo: Daniel Pletinckx)

Currently, the interactive virtual reality application in both museums is shown with storytelling in Dutch.  An English version of the narration has been recorded and an Italian version is being prepared for recording.  Both versions will be shown at the ArcheoVirtual exhibition at the Borsa Mediterranea del Turismo Archeologico (Nov 17-20, 2011, in Paestum, Italy).

The Etruscanning research continues, on the digital restoration of the objects, on their optimal representation in a real time 3D system and on the use of gestures to select and manipulate objects.  An updated version of the application, providing more focus on the digitised museum objects, will be shown at the Museum Night in Amsterdam on Nov 5, 2011.  We hope to show a gesture based version in both exhibitions by January 2013.

During 2012, a second Etruscan tomb will be reconstructed and visualised with the same approach.  Interactive VR visualisations of both tombs and their objects will be integrated in a prestigious exhibition on Etruscan culture in the Gallo-Roman museum of Tongeren, Belgium in January 2013.

The development of museum VR installations based upon natural interfaces, such as this Etruscanning project, is an exciting, new way of integrating interactive 3D into museums and exhibitions.  CNR-ITABC developed a very first version of this technology in the temporary exhibition Colors of Giotto (video) with a lot of success.  The assessment of the fitness for use and robustness of implementation of this Etruscanning application is carried out by the European V-MusT.net Network of Excellence, that focuses on museum technology and virtual museums.  The research is carried out by the Heritage Lab of the Allard Pierson Museum, that is a leading partner within the V-MusT.net consortium.

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.

 

An Etruscan grave in 3D

11 Oct
RMO

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.

Technodesk

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.