Tag Archives: Architectural Reconstruction

In an article published in the series Orientalia Lovaniensa Analecta, Henning Franzmeier wrote about the secondary function of pottery. This case study used the ceramic assemblage from a Ramesside well near Qantir-Piramesse in the Eastern Nile Delta in Egypt. The visualisation of the well was made in 2008 and you can read about it here.

If you are interested in Egyptian pottery, please check out the article of Henning: Franzmeier, H. 2013: The secondary function of pottery – a case study  from Qantir-Piramesse, in: Bader, B./Ownby, M.F. (Eds.), Functional Aspects of Egyptian Ceramics in their Archaeological Context, Orientalia Lovaniensa Analecta 217, Leuven, 293-306.

Not so long ago, I was thinking about the process of archaeological reconstruction and how I see the results in contrast to a visitor in a museum for example. I started a small survey among my friends and family and realized, that most people take the restitutions seen in museums, television or magazines for granted. As archaeologists, we know that reconstructions are merely a visualised theory and that there are different ways to interpret archaeological data. This is not always the case with a broader audience.

The way from excavated data to a visualised reconstruction in a museum is long and complicated. Often, where the archaeological evidence is scarce, parallels from other excavations, sometimes of different regions or periods, texts or cultural anthropology have to help. Therefore, a restitution can never be exact. Of course, scientific reconstructions offer more accuracy than non-scientific ones, but nevertheless, it will never be a 100% correct.

I think this is not comprehensible for visitors in museums, children in schools or everyone else in front of the TV. In my opinion, we (the archaeologists, curators, teachers, film-makers) have to communicate this fact far more clearly and there is actually no reason not to do so. Besides simply saying that a restitution is maybe not a 100% correct, there are many ways to present this: one could show alternatives, highlight uncertain parts of a reconstruction or differentiate between the different sources that led to the restitution and point that out. I think, the audience will understand and actually welcome the participation in the archaeological thinking process.

In this small example you can clearly distinguish between excavated remains and reconstructed upper part. This graphic shows the Anu-Antum-temple in Uruk of the Seleucid period. If you are interested, you can read more about it here.

Material: © DAI

We updated the project page of the Stone-Cone building and added the final video. It shows the complete construction and reconstruction of the Stone-Cone building, from its complex foundation design to reflections about its inner installations. The video was made for a conference talk, so there is no sound, labels or explanations. Go and check it out!

Today we finished the work on the restitution and visualisation of the “White Temple” (Building B) and the Anu Ziggurat in Uruk, a very famous sacred complex dating to the Late Uruk Period. The project is part of the ongoing Uruk Visualisation-Project that we are working on for the German Archaeological Institute in Berlin. The results turned out very nice: We created two possibilities of reconstruction for the “White Temple”. The final images show comprehensive exterior views of the temple on top of the ziggurat, several sections through the building and some very nice interior views that tentatively reveal the lighting conditions inside the temple.

Sorry for not posting any pictures here, but that will have to wait until the publication is out. Some images will probably be on display, however, in the upcoming Uruk exhibition in the Pergamon Museum in April 2013. We will keep you updated on that.

Today we finished the first part of the Mari Visualisation Project: the restitution and visualisation of the fortifications. It was a great pleasure for us to work with the Mari excavation team of the Sorbonne Paris and a very fruitful cooperation.

This graphic shows the relation of two of the different building phases of the fortification wall in Mari.

Reconstruction of the domestic residence in Sector N3.
You can read more about this project on our project-site.


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