It's not terribly convenient for most of us to grab a flight to Egypt and visit the great pyramids of Giza, but a new project is attempting to bring an in-depth recreation right into your home in glorious 3D. A collaboration between software design firm Dassault Systèmes, the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, and Harvard University has yielded Giza 3D, a site hosting an in-depth 3D model of the pyramids that was recreated based on rigorous scholarly data. Back in the first half of the 20th century, archeologist George Reisner spent a good portion of his life researching and excavating the Giza pyramids as part of a Harvard University / MFA expedition. The MFA then spent the last decade or so digitizing documents from the expeditoin, which were then used by Dassault Systèmes to create the Giza 3D simulation.
Peter Der Manuelian, professor of Egyptology at Harvard University and director of the MFA's Giza Archives recently told Discovery News that this project was buit with historical accurace being of supreme importance, saying "many 3-D models of ancient sites have more to do with fantasy and video games than with archaeology." He went on to say that "our reconstructions strive to reflect as much existing excavation data as possible, and that includes a meticulous study of ancient colors, inscriptions, textures of walls, buildings and objects."
The site itself contains a vast amount of information, with a guided, interactive tour through ten different areas of the Giza plateau — each site also contains an object gallery and photo gallery, as well as a link to the MFA's database of relevant documents. The 3D models are smooth and detailed, and there's also a 3D mode that works with a pair of anaglyph glasses. With full control over the camera, you can fly in and out of different regions at will, and click on objects for more info. One note before visiting the site: you'll need to install a plugin before viewing, and Mac users will need to use Firefox in 32-bit mode. If you're at all interested in the history behind one of the great wonders of the world, this project is certainly worth a look.