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, 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.”
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.” (Source: Dassault 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.