Peter Der Manuelian, Philip J. King Professor of Egyptology and Director of the Harvard Semitic Museum, has just been awarded funding through the spring 2019 competition of the Dean’s Competitive Fund for Promising Scholarship for his project, “Virtual Reality Research, Documentation, and Conservation: The Painted Egyptian Coffins of the Harvard Semitic Museum.” The project was selected from among over forty compelling proposals submitted by fellow faculty members this spring, and will receive funding in the amount of $38,969.
The funding will allow the full digital documentation-- photographic and photogrammetric, as well as rotatable 3D models-- of the three beautifully painted coffins from about 945-712 BC which are among the largest and most important objects in the Harvard Semitic Museum. Due to the fragile nature of the pieces, full photographic documentation of the coffins has never been conducted. However, thanks to new technologies such as portable 3D scanners, photogrammetry, and enhanced digital photography, this project aims to solve that problem once and for all, opening up an entirely new research avenue for scholarhsip, and serving Harvard students, museum visitors, and the worldwide public as a result.