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Digital CitiesBetween History and Archaeology$
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Maurizio Forte and Helena Murteira

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780190498900

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2020

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190498900.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2020. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 20 October 2020

At-Risk World Heritage and Virtual Reality Visualization for Cyber-Archaeology

At-Risk World Heritage and Virtual Reality Visualization for Cyber-Archaeology

The Mar Saba Test Case

(p.151) Chapter 7 At-Risk World Heritage and Virtual Reality Visualization for Cyber-Archaeology
Digital Cities

Thomas E. Levy

Connor Smith

Kristin Agcaoili

Anish Kannan

Avner Goren

Jürgen P. Schulze

Glenn Yago

Oxford University Press

In this chapter, the issue of at-risk cultural heritage in the Middle East is addressed through the application of cyber-archaeology tools for data capture and dissemination. Working with an economic model to create a Heritage Asset District in the environs of Jerusalem, virtual reality for personal head-mounted devices and immersive CAVE platforms are used to help create high-value cultural heritage attractions designed to attract visitors to the district, thereby generating economic benefits. In the case study presented here, the district focuses on the Kidron Valley, which has its origin near the Temple Mount in the Old City of Jerusalem, and follows the river flowing eastward through the Judean Desert, where it empties into the Dead Sea. The most prominent cultural heritage site along the wadi (riverbed) is the Mar Saba Greek Orthodox monastery, dating to the fifth century CE. A helium-balloon photographic platform with high-definition photography and Structure from Motion (SfM) processing was used to create a 3D model of this impressive site that could be used for VR demonstrations. The demo is then made available over the MedArchNet (http://medarchnet.calit2.net/) online digital atlas to enable public engagement with Middle Eastern cultural heritage. This research is part of a University of California Office of the President Catalyst Grant concerning “At-Risk Cultural Heritage and the Digital Humanities.”

Keywords:   Cyber-archaeology, Mar Saba Monastery, virtual reality, cultural asset, heritage site, CAVE. Israel/Palestine

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