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Regents of the University of California, Santa Cruz (Santa Cruz, CA 95064-1077)
Elaine A. Sullivan (Project Director: September 2014 to May 2017)

Digital Humanities Start-Up Grants
Digital Humanities

[White paper][Grant products][Media coverage]

$47,200 (approved)
$47,200 (awarded)

Grant period:
6/1/2015 – 12/31/2016

3D Saqqara: Reconstructing Landscape and Meaning at an Ancient Egyptian Site

Development of a three-dimensional model and virtual tour that would demonstrate how the ancient Egyptian cemetery at Saqqara evolved over the course of nearly three millennia--from 2950 BCE to 332 BCE.

GIS, a major data organization tool in archaeology, places information within a two-dimensional geospatial framework linked to locations on the Earth's surface. Human lives are not lived, however, on a flat surface, but are embedded in a three-dimensional world. The addition of a third coordinate, elevation or height allows us to replace layers of complexity when working with cultural data. Change over time (the forth dimension) is a fundamental aspect of human life and crucial to understanding human experience in the past. 3D Saqqara offers a 4D study of an ancient site across space and time. By simulating the changing built and natural landscape, the project explores the visual environment that shaped the experiences and choices of past peoples. Through the recreation of lines-of-sight between important cult places, the project traces how decisions over time change the meaning of these spaces and altered ancient peoples' perception of the ritual landscape.