How did people live thousands of years ago? The University of Virginia’s Institute for Advanced Technology in the Humanities asked this exact same question. As a result, they decided to digitally rebuild the revolutionary city of Rome during the peak of its development (around A.D. 320 – the time of Constantine The Great). They figured this would be the best way to try and understand how humans lived so long ago.
The very first version of the Rome Reborn product went under construction 10 years ago, and the task was finally finished last year. Included in it were 250 highly detailed structures, and a total of over 7,000 structures in all. They used a 1:250 scale model of Rome that took forty years to create (from 1933 to 1973). This smaller scale Rome was actually constructed out of Plaster of Paris. Using laser scanners they scanned the Plaster of Paris model and created the virtual model. The original use of this model was to be utilized in a theater at UCLA. Since last year the Rome Reborn Project has seen many faces, it’s most recent being Rome Reborn 2.0 which improved the detail significantly. Google then joined in and offered to include Rome Reborn in Google Earth.
With Rome Reborn in Google Earth, it’s the equivalent of an virtual time machine, which can be used to study the history of Rome and other great cities of the world. If you currently have Google Earth (any version), you can enjoy touring ancient Rome. Not only can you navigate around the structures, but you can also go in them, and enter areas like the Colosseum and even the Roman Senate. With more time, more information will be added researches believe. They also hope that by pioneering this research into the past – other researchers will catch some inspiration and create 3D models of other forgotten cities.