Digital Roman Forum in Late Antiquity

This ground-breaking project, undertaken between 1997 and 2005 at the UCLA Cultural Virtual Reality Laboratory, under the direction of Bernard Frischer and Diane Favro, still remains the most important visual reference for the Roman Forum, a useful archive of literary and iconographic sources, and a standard for online visualization projects of ancient sites.  The Digital Roman Forum project aims to reconstruct the appearance of the Forum in Late Antiquity (400 CE), on a building-by-building basis.  The reconstruction of each monument is presented as a series of still images from various perspectives, as well as Panorma and Object movies; bibliographic information is included as well.  A major strength of the project is its extensive documentation of the choices for reconstruction, which even include relative levels of certainty based on the respective evidence.  One can navigate the monuments on a map of the Roman Forum, choosing any time between 700 BCE and 500 CE; additionally, one can search the reconstructions by keyword or browse by primary source (i.e., Ovid, Macrobius); function (i.e., Commerical Buildings, Religious Structures); and type (i.e., Curiae, Temples).  Ironically, the major drawback of the monument visualizations is that photographs of their current state of preservation are not provided, and yet, in many respects, viewing the website is far more informative than visiting the site itself!

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