In 40 years of excavations, Reisner unearthed thousands of remains and works of art and left a thorough catalog of his explorations, with some 45,000 photographic glass plate negatives, tens of thousands of pages of diaries, manuscripts and reports, countless maps, diagrams, notes, and copious correspondence.
Practically unused until the beginning of the 1970s, this immense resource has been completely digitized and is now accessible within the Giza 3D project.
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"We tried to be as scientifically accurate as possible when re-creating the plateau. At the same time, we focused on creating an authentic experience for every visitor," Mehdi Tayoubi, vice president of design and experimental strategy at Dassault Systèmes, told Discovery News.
According to Tayoubi, the new possibilities offered (e.g., aerial 3-D views, cross sections of the ground, passing through walls), "far from being gimmicks, take on new meaning in the service of research."
As visitors to the 3-D virtual Giza Plateau enter tombs and mastabas (flat-roofed, rectangular burials), they can look for the remains found there by the Reisner expedition, view 3-D objects and get instant interactive access to all the relevant information. These include field journals, maps and ancient pictures.
Moreover, the reconstruction of vanished temples or tombs from available information makes it possible to trace the entire history of the Giza Plateau during different eras and follow its development through the centuries.
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"Visualizing Giza from previously impossible angles, such as from underground, or at different periods in time and stages of development - conception, construction, completion, excavation, restoration - provides both a unique teaching tool in the classroom and on the Web, and a new research tool for modern scholarship," Manuelian said.
Images: 1. 3-D reconstruction of the Giza Plateau. Credit: Dassault Systèmes;
2. Animated image of Queen Hetepheres' tomb, where it is possible to learn about objects. Credit: Dassault Systèmes;
3. Queen Hetepheres' tomb is shown here as it was discovered by George Reisner and the Harvard University-Museum of Fine Arts Boston Expedition to the Giza Plateau in 1925. Credit: Dassault Systèmes;
4. Queen Hetepheres is depicted here in her palace. Credit: Dassault Systèmes.