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Acropolis  --  Athens, Greece

The Old Athena Temple

 page updated April 29, 2003
The Problem When LEARNING SITES was called upon (in 1999) to create a simple massing model of the major 5th-century elements of the Acropolis for a re-analysis of the excavation data, we discovered that, although the monuments themselves are well known, the actual dimensions of each building, each site feature, and each topographic contour are not accurately documented.  The task that we were given depended upon achieving the most accurate model possible with regard to the relative positions of buildings and features on the Acropolis.   Thus the discrepancies that we found in the measurements given for the horizontal locational relationship of the buildings to each other and for the relative elevational position of each building caused us no little amount of concern.  Some of the most widely published plans of the Acropolis, those that show the 5th-century remains, disagree widely among themselves in these regards. 
The Solution Throughout this project, we consulted numerous sources relating to the excavation of the monuments and their architectural details, as well as resources giving information about the precise elevational location and geographical position of each natural and constructed feature on the hill.  The sources ranged from 19th-century reports to the latest scientific study of the buildings by the Greeks.  Many hours were spent interpreting the disparate sets of dimensions,  elevations, and drawings  before proceeding with the 3D digital re-creation. 

Our resulting virtual reality re-creation of the major monuments on the Acropolis (a single image from the model appears below), allowed the researcher to simulate a walk around the 5th-century monuments.  This made it possible to test accurately, in a three-dimensional context, hypotheses about ancient sight lines and space utilization, and references to bedrock cuttings mentioned in early excavations on the hill.  Only an accurate 3D model could permit such detailed speculations to be validated.

To read more about the analysis of the sources and the probability that the Archaic temple to Athena was not demolished after the sack by the Persians, please see the article by Gloria Ferrari.

Virtual reality model of the Acropolis, Athens, by Learning Sites

Aerial view of the virtual reality Acropolis massing model; showing the Old Athena Temple ghosted.

Acropolis view west

View from just inside the Propylaea, 
looking west; with the statue of Athena Promachos 
and the Old Athena Temple in the background.

Acropolis view east

View of the virtual reality massing model, 
looking east, showing the Old Athena Temple in ruins.

Reference Information

page created: January 18, 2002
page updated: April 29, 2003
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