Can’t make it to Egypt this summer?  Never fear, Peter Der Manuelian and Mehdi Tayoubi are combining Fourth Dynasty architecture, Twentieth (and 21st) Century archaeology, and Generation Wow technology to take you places that would be off limits even if you were in Egypt.

From scanning the landscape to crawling down into ancient tombs, you are there, dude.

Peter Der Manuelian is the Director of the Giza Archives Project (in the process of becoming Digital Giza) an international endeavor that combines the 45-year Harvard University—Boston Museum of Fine Arts Expedition (1902—1947) with ongoing archaeological projects in order to create a “central Giza repository for world scholarship.”

Deterioration of tomb wall statues just from 1927 to present day (Courtesy of Boston MFA External Relations Department)

Deterioration of tomb wall statues just from 1927 to present day (Courtesy of Boston MFA External Relations Department)

Prompted by the on-going deterioration of the art and monuments of the Giza Plateau, the Giza Archives Project seeks to preserve Egypt’s legacy by advancing scholarship through international cooperation, exploring new means of analysis and presentation, and using cutting-edge technology to bring the people, places, and artifacts of the Giza Plateau to all interested persons.

Along with partners from Berkeley, Berlin, Cairo, Hildesheim, Leipzig, Philadelphia, Turin, and Vienna, Der Manuelian has been bringing the world’s finest museums and Egyptological work to classrooms, libraries, and desktops around the world.  But with the addition of Dassault Systèmes’ Mehdi Tayoubi, the Giza Archives Project takes you as close as you can possibly get to the plateau without actually being there.

Em Hotep readers may not be familiar with Tayoubi by name, but you are certainly familiar with his work.  Along with fellow Dassault Systèmes wizard Richard Breitner, Tayoubi helped bring Jean-Pierre Houdin’s work with Khufu’s Pyramid to three dimensions in Khufu Revealed.  Clips of Dassault’s renderings of Jean-Pierre’s work were featured in National Geographic’s Unlocking the Great Pyramid, and have been circulating around the internet for several years.


Now Tayoubi and Der Manuelian are teaming up to bring you Giza 3D, an immersive experience which brings the power of industrial 3D technology to the Giza Archives Project.  But this venture is more than just video game-style eye candy.  The Giza Archives Project is already the most exhaustive collection of information and images related to the Giza Plateau.  This new collaboration will combine Der Manuelian’s archaeological data with the same tools Dassault Systèmes employs to help built modern architectural and engineering wonders to create a virtual environment that transforms “old archives to real-time 3D.”

Speaking of the collaboration, its kinship to Jean-Pierre Houdin’s work, and the scope of the project, the Dassault Systèmes’ press release states:

This partnership is a logical continuation of projects initiated by Dassault Systèmes three years ago around the pyramid of Khufu. “The content of the Giza Archives Project is an important new resource in the field of Egyptology. Peter Der Manuelian follows in the footsteps of George Reisner, contributing daily with his team to ensure the digital preservation of Humanity’s historical heritage,” said Mehdi Tayoubi, Interactive Strategy Director at Dassault Systèmes. “We will imagine new forms of interactivity, collaboration and innovation around this data for the worlds of education, research and for the general public thanks to experiential 3D.”  (SourceDassault Systèmes and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Announce a Strategic Partnership in the Domains of 3D Archaeological Content)

And lest the reader think we have heard the last of Dassault Systèmes and Project Khufu, guess again.  Although everyone associated with the next chapter of Project Khufu is remaining tight-lipped for now, I have it on Very Good Authority that Project Khufu and Giza 3D are both advancing on their own parallel trajectories, and we will be hearing very exciting news about both in the coming months.

For more coverage, please visit my good friends Vincent Brown, “The 3D Giza Plateau & Virtual Archaeology,” and Marc Chartier, “Partenariat Dassault Systèmes/Museum of Fine Arts de Boston : quand la 3D revisite le plateau de Guizeh” (in French).

Copyright by Keith Payne, 2010.  All rights reserved.

Photo of tomb wall statues courtesy of the Boston Museum of Fine Arts Giza Archives General info Packet, which can be downloaded here.

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This entry was posted on Friday, April 23rd, 2010 at 4:49 am and is filed under Egypt in the News, The Giza Plateau. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

4 comments so far

Jean-Pierre Houdin

Hi Keith,

Thank you again for this brilliant article about GIZA 3D, the partnership between the MFA Boston – Peter der Manuelian – and Dassault Systemes – Mehdi Tayoubi. Having myself a partnership with Dassault Systemes for already more than 5 years, I can assure you that their involvement in the transmission of culture and knowledge to the young generation, for example, is a top priority. When you visit the Dassault Systemes Campus near Paris, you are struck by the average age of the people working there…The word Campus is a word which is worth to say when you have 3.000+ young engineers working in an environment which has nothing to envy to the Silicon Valley…
And the educational vocation through the new tools imagined by Medhi Tayoubi’s team can be seen almost every weekday since near 3 years at la Geode in Paris. Khufu Revealed 3D animation in real time and relief has already been seen by near 50.000 secondary schools pupils; this program is a tremendous support to give them the desire to go farther with Ancient Egypt. These kids are born with these new tools in their cradle, and Dassault Systems thinks these tools are not only for entertainment, but most importantly, for EDUTAINEMENT.
What friendly and wonderful tools to bring out the Humanity Heritage and to spread it all over the world in 3 clicks !

Long live to GIZA 3D !

April 23rd, 2010 at 8:03 am

Thank you as always, Jean-Pierre!

I have to admit I am envious of the many fantastic presentations Parisians have access to at La Geode. With the revitalized interest in 3D cinema I am hopeful that I may soon be able to see Khufu Revealed, along with other Dassault Systèmes productions such as Giza 3D, on IMAX screens here in America.

With the assistance of Dassault’s Mehdi Tayoubi and Richard Breitner, you have revolutionized not only the presentation of archaeology, but are creating a new suite of tools for conducting archaeology in a totally noninvasive way. To-scale real-time 3D imaging doesn’t just give you a bird’s eye view of the field, it gives you a humming bird’s access, with the ability to soar above the field, fly down into the smallest crevice, hover, rotate, anything the mind can imagine.

“Standing on the bare ground, my head bathed by the blithe air, and uplifted into infinite space, all mean egotism vanishes. I become a transparent eyeball-I am nothing; I see all…” –Ralph Waldo Emerson

April 23rd, 2010 at 11:51 am

Hey there Keith, I have read through the things that you have wrote about and i just wanted to say that i am so proud of you. I hope that you continue everything that you are doing. This is amazing, And i will let you know when i decided to start my journey in to the unknown territory.
Hope to talk to you soon!
Sincerely Kayla Jefferson 🙂

August 21st, 2012 at 11:42 pm

Kayla!! My friend!!

Thank you for your encouragement, both here and out-and-about town! You are a great friend and your brilliance and creativity are the first things people see in you.. and there is so much more beyond that.

I look forward to reading your work as well, and hope you will consider contributing to Em Hotep some time in the future.

Keep going forward!


August 25th, 2012 at 9:09 pm

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