By Erin Blakemore.
June 2, 2019.
From massive pyramids to the Sphinx, the Giza Plateau is an ancient-history lover’s dream. About 4,600 years ago, ancient Egyptians turned the plateau into a place where they buried their most important rulers. And today, archaeologists and archaeology buffs alike can explore it without leaving their computers.
The Digital Giza Project, a comprehensive clearinghouse of all things Giza, brings ancient history firmly into the modern age. It’s a collection of tens of thousands of images, scholarly research and cutting-edge technology about the archaeological sites at Giza.
The project began at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, where Peter Der Manuelian set out to digitize the work of George Reisner, an Egyptologist who undertook 40 years of excavations at Giza.
Manuelian’s project has since migrated to Harvard University and expanded to include information from Reisner’s legendary digs, modern-day digital imaging of the sites, and data from Harvard, the MFA and other institutions.
Parts of the archaeological wonders of Giza don’t live in Egypt anymore; they’re spread through collections around the world. The Digital Giza Project reunites them online with artifacts from the digs that uncovered them.
The result is a dizzying portrait of both an ancient site and its more modern explorers. And though it’s of particular interest to academics, the project is plenty accessible to armchair explorers, too.
Its 3-D models of temples, monuments and tombs let viewers imagine themselves inside astonishing structures, such as the Khafre Pyramid and the Sphinx, an enigmatic colossus whose origins are still up for debate.
Each 3-D model is accompanied by photos, videos, documents and a bibliography. They offer a rare chance to imagine the ancient sites as they might have looked during their infancy — and an opportunity to appreciate the thoughtful effort of modern scholars working to make the archaeological treasures of the ancient world accessible to one and all.