3D Tech Rebuilds, May Save King Tutankhamun's Tomb

3D Tech Rebuilds, May Save King Tutankhamun's Tomb

It's the first new build in the Valley of the Kings since the days of the Pharaohs, and its makers hope tourists will love it.

Egypt's archaeological wonders are being destroyed bit by bit, every day, by the thousands of tourists who love them. Many of the tombs in the Valley of the Kings have been shut to protect them from further wear, and restoration works risk further damaging the very things Egypt wants so desperately to preserve. Now there's something altogether different in the Valley of the Kings; it's the first new tomb since the days of the Pharaohs, and its creators hope it will help save King Tutankhamun's tomb.

Factum Arte, the team behind this project, began by using a 3D scanner to record the whole of the tomb, at 1:1 scale. This took over 32 days and 1300 scan shots, to cover everything. Conservator Naoko Fukumaru made sure the tomb was kept safe, while at the same time putting together a color palette - over 500 different shades - so that, when the time came, the original decorations could be copied as accurately as possible.

Then the copy was carefully milled out in three dimensions, at a resolution of 100 microns, to ensure that the copy would be indistinguishable from the original. After it's milled it's moulded, cast printed, and the finishing touches added by hand. Factum Arte even managed to restore missing decorative elements on the south wall; working with the Griffith Institute in the UK, it compared photographs from Howard Carter's 1922 expedition to the existing tomb, and used the photographs plus the conservator's palette to rebuild what has long been lost.

"It is this level of obsession with the details of the surface that results in a convincing facsimile," says Factum Arte. It rebuilt the tomb in its Madrid warehouse, before transporting it to Egypt to be installed in the Valley, about a mile from the original. In the end it cost a little over $700,000 to make; cheap, if it saves King Tut's tomb.

If this project succeeds, it could pave the way for other facsimiles, allowing visitors to see the tombs of, say, Sethi I or Nefertari, which have long been shut for fear of damage. The key is going to be persuading tourists that an exact copy, complete with extra display panels to explain everything, is as good as seeing the real thing.

"Can I tell the difference?" wondered one of the first visitors. "No, I don't think I can. No, it looks good enough for me."

Source: Guardian
Images: Factum Arte

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Using technology to duplicate a Pharaoh's tomb.

I suspect that King Tut might be flattered if he knew someone was gonna do something like that.

Didn't they already do a mock-up like this for the cave paintings in France or something? Although not with such fidelity.

Personally I'm never going to Egypt short of winning the lotto or something. But take those 1:1 images and build a virtual reproduction for the oculus and I'll buy the tour. If it only cost $700K to do the photos, making such perfect virtual tours would probably be HIGHLY profitable and could possibly fund the preservation of so many historical sites.

I'd love to be able to vr through a perfect angkor wat reproduction or the Basilica of the Sagrada Familia.

Raziel:
Didn't they already do a mock-up like this for the cave paintings in France or something? Although not with such fidelity.

Personally I'm never going to Egypt short of winning the lotto or something. But take those 1:1 images and build a virtual reproduction for the oculus and I'll buy the tour. If it only cost $700K to do the photos, making such perfect virtual tours would probably be HIGHLY profitable and could possibly fund the preservation of so many historical sites.

I'd love to be able to vr through a perfect angkor wat reproduction or the Basilica of the Sagrada Familia.

The problem is that a large chunk of the Egyptian economy relies on tourists being in Egypt. Luxor is a ghost town after the problems in Egypt and people are losing their jobs. If you build replicas what happens to the hotels, restaurants, coaches and boast that need the tourists to be present.

I'm glad I managed to see the original before, I must say. But then again, I'd rather have a convincing 3-D replication than risk damaging the tomb. It's a marvellous idea, and I hope the principle gets more use in the future. Such a replica could easily fit in a larger museum, and it'd make it visible to a lot of people who might not otherwise be able to afford to visit it.

Of course, it'll never beat the real thing, which will no doubt still gather visitors. But if it's taking too much damage, it's the best arrangement possible to preserve it while making the cultural significance of it available to the people.

albino boo:

Raziel:
Didn't they already do a mock-up like this for the cave paintings in France or something? Although not with such fidelity.

Personally I'm never going to Egypt short of winning the lotto or something. But take those 1:1 images and build a virtual reproduction for the oculus and I'll buy the tour. If it only cost $700K to do the photos, making such perfect virtual tours would probably be HIGHLY profitable and could possibly fund the preservation of so many historical sites.

I'd love to be able to vr through a perfect angkor wat reproduction or the Basilica of the Sagrada Familia.

The problem is that a large chunk of the Egyptian economy relies on tourists being in Egypt. Luxor is a ghost town after the problems in Egypt and people are losing their jobs. If you build replicas what happens to the hotels, restaurants, coaches and boast that need the tourists to be present.

There are billions of people who will never go on an international trip to see Egypt. They simply will never be able to afford it. And for the people who do travel in person I don't think there going to stop just because they could tour it in VR.

Raziel:

albino boo:

Raziel:
Didn't they already do a mock-up like this for the cave paintings in France or something? Although not with such fidelity.

Personally I'm never going to Egypt short of winning the lotto or something. But take those 1:1 images and build a virtual reproduction for the oculus and I'll buy the tour. If it only cost $700K to do the photos, making such perfect virtual tours would probably be HIGHLY profitable and could possibly fund the preservation of so many historical sites.

I'd love to be able to vr through a perfect angkor wat reproduction or the Basilica of the Sagrada Familia.

The problem is that a large chunk of the Egyptian economy relies on tourists being in Egypt. Luxor is a ghost town after the problems in Egypt and people are losing their jobs. If you build replicas what happens to the hotels, restaurants, coaches and boast that need the tourists to be present.

There are billions of people who will never go on an international trip to see Egypt. They simply will never be able to afford it. And for the people who do travel in person I don't think there going to stop just because they could tour it in VR.

You missed the point. If you go all the way to Egypt and can only see a replica available elsewhere, why go to Egypt.

albino boo:

Raziel:

albino boo:

The problem is that a large chunk of the Egyptian economy relies on tourists being in Egypt. Luxor is a ghost town after the problems in Egypt and people are losing their jobs. If you build replicas what happens to the hotels, restaurants, coaches and boast that need the tourists to be present.

There are billions of people who will never go on an international trip to see Egypt. They simply will never be able to afford it. And for the people who do travel in person I don't think there going to stop just because they could tour it in VR.

You missed the point. If you go all the way to Egypt and can only see a replica available elsewhere, why go to Egypt.

What choice have they though? If they make a replica people may not come. But the tomb is being destroyed. Even if they didn't care about preserving it people would stop coming once it was trashed.

Raziel:

What choice have they though? If they make a replica people may not come. But the tomb is being destroyed. Even if they didn't care about preserving it people would stop coming once it was trashed.

The only chance they have is to make the replica unique as possible, i.e no VR. Try to maintain luxor as the only place where you can experience the tomb.

 

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