Virtual Reality in Archaeology

Dig@IT: Virtual Reality in Archaeology

A virtual reality system to recreate the archaeological experience using data and 3D models from the neolithic site of Çatalhöyük, in Anatolia, Turkey.

Project Team

  • Emmanuel Shiferaw,ECE/CS, Duke University
  • Cheng Ma , ME/CS, Duke University
  • Regis Kopper, DiVE, Duke University
  • Maurizio Forte, AAHVS, Duke University
  • Nicola Lercari,  World Heritage, UC Merced

Project Objectives

  • Develop archaeological VRapp containing models of real site.
  • Allow manipulation of artifacts/”digging” within system.


  • Can view information from existing archaeological database contextually, in 3D space, for objects documented by field archaeologists.
  • Allows for measurement, analysis of artifacts and land on-site.
  • Built for Oculus and DiVE.
  • For DiVE, companion apps built for Google Glass and iPad, which dynamically display information from Catalhoyuk site database relating to feature being examined.


  • Digital Archaeologists capture 3D models of dig site and landscape through image-based modeling (photogrammetry), laser scanning, LIDAR, etc.
  • 3D models of site, artifacts, are imported into Unity3D game engine, where:
    • Interactions and display are built to allow analysis and discovery within the application.
    • Application is built with Oculus Rift as head mounted-display, and Razer Hydra tracked wands as input devices.

Download the project poster (PDF).

Dig@IT: Virtual Reality in Archaeology

Dig@IT: Virtual Reality in Archaeology

Related News

Dr. Maurizio Forte sent along these great photos of their archaeological discovery in Vulci. The discoveries stem from the work on the iiD project Dig@IT: Virtual Reality in Archaeology. A very important Roman...
For the past four years, Maurizio Forte and his teams have used cyberarchaeology technologies such as remote sensing, data recording apps, real-time visualization, and 3D digital models to explore the ancient Etruscan city...