Virtual Reality

Virtual Reality describes a three-dimensional, computer generated environment that a human can explore and interact with (for further explanation go here, and, for the tech-savvy, get your headset out and experience a VR lesson in VR here).

VR is an established medium in Digital Humanities, where it can be used to simulate, teach, and analyze past worlds (for some examples, see here). It can also preserve the memory and data from threatened or lost cultural heritage sites — this is described as the domain of Virtual Heritage.

At the intersection in Digital Humanities of Virtual Reality and Virtual Heritage, I have designed a 3D interpretation of a 9th to 8th century BCE Neo-Assyrian queen, which, in collaboration with Learning Sites, Inc., we plan to add  to an expanded version of an extant Virtual Reality simulation of Nimrud’s Northwest Palace. Although the Virtual Northwest Palace has been in continued production since the late 1990s, to date it includes no female characters. Thus, our perspectives are skewed to envision the Assyrian palace as an exclusively “Men’s World.” The queen model (along with female courtiers and the queen’s throne room) will help to balance our views of ancient Iraqi history at Nimrud (the site of which was destroyed in 2015 and remains intact only in this virtual medium).

More information on my collaboration with Learning Sites, Inc. is available here.

And here is the Queen model (click to rotate) — peer reviewed and published in Amy Gansell, “Dressing the Neo-Assyrian Queen in Identity and Ideology: Elements and Ensembles from the Royal Tombs at Nimrud,” American Journal of Archaeology 122 (2018): 65-100.