A Framework Supported by Modeling and Virtual/Augmented Reality for the Preservation and Dynamization of Archeological-Historical Sites

A Framework Supported by Modeling and Virtual/Augmented Reality for the Preservation and Dynamization of Archeological-Historical Sites

Mauro Figueiredo (University of Algarve, Portugal), João Pedro Bernardes (University of Algarve, Portugal), José I. J. Rodrigues (University of Algarve, Portugal) and César Gonçalves (University of Algarve, Portugal)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-2927-9.ch010


This chapter presents an approach for the preservation and exploration of the archaeological-historical information using the most modern methods of Building Information Modelling (BIM) together with virtual and augmented reality adapted to archaeology. It was made a survey of the archaeological site using an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) and laser scan to obtain accurate information of existing structures which is stored in a BIM model. By using BIM methodologies, all existing information is organized in one place, shared and preserved for future memory. This 3D model is used to virtually reconstruct the Milreu archeological site, bringing this ancient Roman villa to life again, and supports the virtual reality platform and augmented reality tourism application for mobile devices, used for the promotion of the archaeological site, in an innovative way, in order to ensure a high degree of satisfaction to regular visitors and attract new public, looking for the visits to the archaeological-historical site to become a memorable experience.
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The ruins of Milreu, located in Estoi, 7 Km from Faro, correspond to a Roman villa with a long period of occupation between the 1st century and 5th century, being one of the largest and best preserved Roman villa in the southwest of the Iberian Peninsula. It is classified as a national monument since 1910, after the excavations of the 19th century, carried out by archaeologist Estácio da Veiga, have revealed the archaeological importance of the site (Santos, 1972). From then, becomes a reference among the Portuguese archaeological sites, beginning a wide-ranging programme of excavations from de1971, coordinated by Theodor Hauschild. It is then that is definitely in sight the residential and richest part of the villa, the pars urbana, which was acquired by the State and is valued and converted into a visitable archaeological site. In this part, are to highlight the mosaics with marine motifs, the temple, the baths and the residential area organized around a peristyle and an atrium (Hauschild & Teichner, 2002; Lancha & Oliveira, 2013). The pars rustica, i.e. the part corresponding to the agricultural dependencies, stables and accommodation for slaves organized around a courtyard, clearly visible in the 19th-century plant raised by Estacio da Veiga (Figure 1), is nowadays occupied by agricultural land.

Figure 1.

Milreu plant of the 19th century

Source: Santos, 1972.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Building Information Modeling: A process involving the generation and management of digital representations of physical and functional characteristics of places.

Unmanned Aerial Vehicle: Commonly known as a drone, unmanned aircraft system (UAS), or by several other names, is an aircraft without a human pilot aboard.

Mobile Device: Small computing device, small enough to hold and operate in the hand and having an operating system capable of running mobile apps.

Augmented Reality: Real time integration between digital information, with live video and the user's environment.

Laser Scan Survey: A surveying method that analyses a real-world object or environment to collect data on its shape and possibly its appearance. The collected data can then be used to construct digital three-dimensional models.

Virtual Reality: Three-dimensional, computer generated environment which can be explored and interacted with by a person.

Milreu: Roman villa in the South of Portugal from 1st to 5th century AD.

Archaeological Site: A place in which evidence of past activity is preserved.

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