Northwest Palace, Nimrud, ancient Assyria (modern Iraq)

NEH landing page - Gansell proposal

page updated March 3, 2017

 Northwest Palace - project history

The Northwest Palace (so named because it is situated at the northwest corner of the citadel mound at Nimrud, an ancient capital of the Assyrian empire) was first discovered in the 1840s. It had been excavated nearly continuously since then up until its total destruction by ISIS barrel bombs in the spring of 2015. The few hundred surviving over-life-size wall reliefs from the palace are scattered in over 75 museums around the world. These two conditions make study and understanding of the enormous palace, once the best preserved and prototypical of all the ancient Near Eastern palaces, difficult, if not impossible. Learning Sites began building an interactive virtual reality re-creation of the palace in the late 1990s, to help scholars comprehend the scale, lighting, decorative schemes, and narrative sculpture from the point of view of the ancient Assyrians. Due to the enormity of the task, the globally dispersed nature of the remains, and the inability to visit the site, the project continues to slowly expand across the building complex and its context on the citadel (to view more about those efforts, please visit our Northwest Palace project pages).

This page here provides supplemental images in the form of a single animation file (showing our preliminary work modeling an Assyrian queen) and a Unity game-engine-based virtual world (showing the throne room of the palace as reconstructed by us).

NB: This page is optimized for FireFox (the plugins needed will not work in Chrome); and you may need to "Allow" the plugins to load before viewing the content, depending on the settings in your browser, antivirus program, or network settings.

 An Assyrian Queen - prototype

NB: there are two different formats available here (.mov and .mp4) to ensure that you are able to view our results. More background about our Assyrian Queen project can be found here.

 Northwest Palace virtual world

The Throne Room virtual world snippet contains several features that will be refined and expanded under the proposed project (such as, animated characters and linked supplemental images, text, and narrations). The hotspots are highlighted in green and activated when you approach them.

To navigate the world, use the arrow keys to move around, or w = forward, a = left, s = backwards, d = right; c = unfreeze the world to navigate or refreeze the world to release the cursor so you can look around or click on stuff.

2017 Learning Sites, Inc.