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Learning Sites, Inc.   |   151 Bridges Road   |   Williamstown MA 01267-2232 USA   |   413-458-2828   |   |

Newly Sited

News and New stuff on our Website

page updated May 27, 2024

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 General News Here and Project News Below


Learning Sites by the numbers (January 2024; updated May 2024): in a short few months we jumped from 700 to now over 1000 YouTube subscribers, where our most watched video continues to be of the Northwest Palace, Nimrud, surpassing 72,000 views and a recent posting of our flythrough illustrating our 3D digital reconstruction of the ancient Roman emperor Domitian's palace has jumped to over 50,000 views! What can we visualize for you ?

A new book (December 2023) has been published by Learning Sites president, Donald H. Sanders on the history of visualization techniques in archaeology, chronicling the parallel integration of photography and interactive 3D graphics into the archaeological fieldwork and data analysis toolkit and forecasting an exciting future for archaeological fieldwork, education, and public outreach. Order now for a 20% discount !

A new article (October 2023) co-authored by Learning Sites president, Donald H. Sanders, has been added to the site's bibliography describing a recent project undertaken by our sister organization, the Institute for the Visualization of History. The project entailed using innovative interactive 3D modeling techniques to imagine how an object appearing in two dimensions on late Archaic-period black-figure skyphoi might actually have looked like and been used.

The Tower of David, Jerusalem, has just reopened with renovated and updated exhibits, including a dynamic display of the Arch of Titus spoils panel showing, through special effects, the transition from the current broken state into the full colorized reconstruction.

Learning Sites (June 2023) will provide a video flythrough of the Assyrian Northwest Palace, Nimrud, to the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya museum in Mumbai and very high-resolution renderings of its 3D digital reconstruction of the 1st-century BCE sanctuary atop Nemrud Dagi, Turkey, to Historia National Geographic of Spain for their article on the history of the site and its excavations.

One of Learning Sites' flyovers of the ancient Nubian site of Jebel Barkal will be featured on the Discovery Channel program called "Expedition Unknown." The specific episode will air May 31, 2023, at 9:00pm Eastern time (it is part 2 of a series; the first episode of that series airs at the same time on May 24, 2023). The show will air simultaneously on the Discovery's online platform.

Donald H. Sanders, president of Learning Sites has been interviewed by the Harvard Museums of Culture & Science for a podcast on the excavations of Theresa Goell atop Nermud Dagi, Turkey (one of Learning Sites' first interactive virtual worlds). Related material can be found on the Museum's social media sites: LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

Learning Sites has fulfilled its contract with the Rijksmuseum van Oudheden, Leiden, the Netherlands, for their current exhibtion about the ancient port settlement at Byblos (modern Jbail, Lebanon). Learning Sites has created a series of digital 3D reconstructions of the site visualizing three major periods of its history (see Learning Sites' YouTube channel and Instagram feed for images).

Learning Sites has signed a contract (May 2022) with the Louvre to provide them with visualizations for their current exhibition on ancient Nubia. On May 25, 2022, the Louvre will host a lecture in its auditorium entitled "Taharqa, découvreur des deux Nils, fondateur de Philæ", given by Sylvie Cauville. The presentation will feature several images from Learning Sites 3D model reconstructions of the sites of Jebel Barkal and Nuri (such as the one seen here). Afterwards, the lecture will be posted on the museum's YouTube channel through May 2024.

The Rijksmuseum van Oudheden, Leiden, the Netherlands, is preparing for the opening (on December 17, 2021) of a new exhibition entitled Emperor Domitian: God on Earth. Learning Sites will be providing the exhibition with several innovative visualizations of heretofore unseen aspects of ancient Rome. PR for the exhibition is already kicking in and Learning Sites renderings are featured. For example: the Dutch museum journal Museumtijdschrift has a view of our palace in their latest issue--scroll down the page to Museumtijdschrift 8 - 2021 and open the Issuu online edition to page 10! And, the Dutch lifestyle magazine Villa d'Arte also has an article on Domitian featuring one of our renderings; when you open the ezine, go to page 189 (or type "Domitianus" in the search box)!

Amelia the Archaeologist (Apr. 2021) has created a video about Theresa Goell, excavator of Nemrud Dagi, and a give-away on her Website, and will be creating additional videos about the site with the assistance of Donald H. Sanders, president of Learning Sites and images from our 3D reconstruction of the extraordinary monument.

Learning Sites (Mar. 2021) will be supplying the Cincinnati Art Museum with images from our 3D reconstruction of the Northwest Palace, Nimrud for their new interactive, touch-screen gallery resource.

Learning Sites (Feb. 2021) has signed agreements to provide customized animated flythroughs of our 3D reconstruction of the Northwest Palace, Nimrud, to the Denver Art Museum (showing the context of their relief from the palace) and to the venerable Ashmolean Museum (Oxford) for their newly renovated Assyrian Gallery.

Learning Sites has been selected as the "Most Innovative Education Resource Provider in the United States" by Corporate Vision Magazine, in its annual Global Business Award program !

Donald H. Sanders, president of Learning Sites, spoke via Zoom on August 10, 2020, at the first virtual National Arts Club of NYC meeting. His topic was: "Why So Many Realities? how virtual reality, augmented reality, and mixed reality help archaeologists relive the past." For those who missed the presentation or want to review the key points, here is the link to video of the talk.

Some archaeology-themed humor has been added to our Website (updated February 26, 2020)!

Learning Sites is re-imagining the Northwest Palace at Nimrud, especially the decorative designs of the walls and the widespread use of brilliant colors, which completely changes the way we understand Assyrian buildings.

Learning Sites' rendering of an Assyrian queen has been chosen to grace January 2018's issue of the prestigious journal, American Journal of Archaeology. There is also a full article in the issue about the queen, including additional images of our first-ever depiction of a fully clothed and bejeweled Assyrian queen. Soon, the queen will find her rightful place inside our virtual recreations of Assyrian palaces.

Learning Sites president, Donald H. Sanders, awarded the international Tartessos Prize for lifetime achievement in virtual archaeology.


 Learning Sites Bibliography

updated February 20, 2024

  • Bibliography of and about Learning Sites methods, projects, and goals.
      • Sanders book on the history of archaeological visualizations
      • Wachsmann and Sanders article on the 3D model of a Dionysian ship cart
      • Snyder and Paley article on the 3D model of the Northwest Palace
      • Many new unpublished oral presentations added, some dating back to the very earliest days of virtual heritage
      • Sanders article on the CUNAT automated cuneiform translation app
      • Reade & Sanders article about the palace of Tiglathpileser III at Nimrud
      • Fine, Schertz & Sanders article about the colorization of the Spoils Panel, Arch of Titus, Rome
      • Townes article about Learning Sites and Tartessos Prize awarded to Donald H. Sanders, President
      • Sanders article on new technologies and caveats in virtual heritage
      • Sanders article on the benefits of virtual heritage with new examples and new technologies
      • Sanders article on the history of virtual heritage and the advantages of its methods
      • Jacobson & Sanders article on digital puppeteering and VR
      • Etherington article on 3D printing
      • Sanders article on the benefits of using virtual reality to study ancient objects

  •  Jebel Barkal, ancient Nubia (Sudan)

    revised May 10, 2023

    Temple B300Jebel Barkal Web pages updated with an interactive virtual reality model of Temple B300 added.

     Ancient Byblos

    added November 3, 2022

    Ancient ByblosAncient Byblos, (modern Jbail) Lebanon, reconstructions of the ancient settlement during its Chalcolithic (c.3300 BCE), Middle Bronze Age (c.1800 BCE), and Roman (c.300 CE) periods.

     Ancient Rome

    added October 29, 2021

    Emperor Domitian's Palace, RomeAncient Rome, Italy, Emperor Domitian's palace and his family's house (1st c. CE).

     Nineveh, Assyria (modern Iraq)

    updated June 14, 2021

    North Palace, NinevehNineveh, ancient Assyria (modern Iraq), North Palace digtial reconstructions updated.

     Stearns Square, Springfield MA USA

    added February 18, 2020

    Stearns Square Web pages newly added, exploring our reimagining of a lost American (19th c. CE) pocket park.

     Victory Monument, Actium, Greece

    added January 29, 2020

    Actium Web pages newly added, exploring our reconstruction of the victory monument of Augustus at Actium, Greece.

     Kyrenia shipwreck, Cyprus

    added December 30, 2019

    Kyrenia Web pages newly added, exploring our reconstruction of the shipwreck and its artifacts, plus the development of a new type of online publication.

     Til Barsib, Syria

    updated January 9, 2020

    Til Barsib Web pages updated with many new renderings extracted from our updated 3D computer model of the Palace, Lion Gate, and surrounding topography built based on published and newly excavated unpublished data about the Assyrian phase of occupation at the provincial settlement site.

     Olynthus, Greece

    added April 26, 2019

    House A vii 4, OlynthusOlynthus, Greece; a new Hellenistic house reconstruction added House A vii 4).

     Damiyah, Jordan

    added April 18, 2019

    Iron Age Damiyah reconstructionDamiyah, Jordan; a new project to reconstruct the Iron Age settlement.

     Northwest Palace, Nimrud, Assyria

    updated May 16, 2019

    Throne Room reconstructionNorthwest Palace Web pages updated with new high-resolution renders of our completely new colorization effort across the major rooms of the palace and new video flythrough of these spaces.

     Gurob, Egypt

    added July 10, 2018

    Gurob ship modelGurob, Egypt; digital reconstruction of a small ship model found in a 19th-20th Dynasty tomb that provides clues to the Sea Peoples and beyond. New VR interactives added. See also the Getty blog on this project.

     Khamsa of Nizami

    added February 26, 2018

    Timurid manuscript pageKhamsa of Nizami -- Medieval, 12th c., Persian 2D manuscript converted into an interactive 3D virtual world with embedded hotspots.

     Arch of Titus

    updated November 13, 2017

    spoils panelArch of Titus -- full-scale CNC-carved replica, digital colorization, and restoration of the spoils panel, 1st c. CE (links to an online video showing the making of the replica and article by ShopBot, added).

     Athlit Ram

    added March 16, 2017

    bronze ramming prowAthlit Ram -- ancient Roman bronze ramming prow; largest and most complete example known to survive, from the 2nd c. BCE.

     Ancient Jerusalem

    added March 3, 2017

    Iron Age house, Area G, JerusalemAncient Jerusalem -- several 3D models of key features throughout the city's history, including an Iron Age house, a Roman house, and the Ottoman gates.

     Assyrian Queen

    added February 22, 2017

    model of an Assyrian QueenAn Assyrian Queen -- for too long no woman has been represented in royal Neo-Assyrian scenes; new research enables us to create a 3D model of a queen for insertion into our virtual worlds.

     Mycenae, Greece

    added January 31, 2017

    Artisans' Workshops, MycenaeMycenae, Greece; digital reconstruction of the Artisans' Workshops (c.14th-13th centuries BCE) atop the citadel.

    Old Babylonian urban centerMashkan-shapir, Iraq; digital reconstruction of an Old Babylonian (c.1840ish BCE) urban center with canals, ziggurat, and residential and manufacturing sectors.

     Learning Sites Website

    updated January 21, 2017 -- A "History of Virtual Heritage" added to The Company menu above, chronicling how the discipline got to today, from the very earliest roots of interactive simulations.

    updated January 2, 2017 -- The entire Learning Sites Website has been completely overhauled, with new content, new virtual worlds, and new navigation. Enjoy (and let us know how we're doing) !

     Al Meragh, Sudan

    updated May 3, 2016

    Al Meragh, AM600 double houseAl Meragh Web pages updated with new images from our digital re-creation of this previously unknown Meroitic site.

     Funerary Chapel of Ka(i)pura, Saqqara (Egypt)

    updated February 5, 2016

    Funerary Chapel of Ka(i)pura, False Door detailKa(i)pura Web pages revised and updated, with new images from our audiovisual museum presentation (one of our first projects back in 1997-98).

     Central Palace area, Nimrud, Assyria

    updated April 14, 2015

    Central Building facadeCentral Palace Web pages updated with new renderings from our evolving and ever-expanding all-digital excavation report of the Polish Center for Mediterranean Archaeology's expedition to the site (1974-1976). The here-to-fore unpublished data include each of the major building phases of the site, the sculpture, and new descriptions and analyses.

     Nemrud Dagi, Turkey

    updated October 27, 2014

    digital model of the East Terrace colossal Apollo, Nemrud DagiNemrud Dagi Web pages updated with images from our digital re-creation of this Hellenistic sanctuary (prepared for on-site visitor information signage).

     Nuzi, Iraq

    added February 14, 2013

    Nuzi lion photomodel and 3D printedNuzi lion sculpture photomodeling and 3D printing/CNC carving project completed in collaboration with the Semitic Museum, Harvard.

     Seyitomer, Kütahya, Turkey

    updated August 14, 2012

    digital model of the Acropolis, Athens, aerial viewSeyitomer Web pages updated with photo-to-VR experiments and results.

     Vari House, Greece

    added and updated March 20, 2012

    Vari House Web pages updated with new renderings from our reworking of this pioneering virtual world and new game engine experiments; explore the Vari house in virtual reality using the Unity game engine (bees buzz, doors creak, farmers tend to their chores, and much more).

     Buhen, Egypt

    added February 11, 2011

    Buhen fortress reconstructionEarly Work, focusing on the Fortress of Buhen has a new rendering.

     Acropolis, Athens, Greece

    updated January 6, 2010

    digital model of the Acropolis, Athens, aerial viewThe Acropolis Web pages updated with a video and new renderings from our virtual reconstruction.

     Paliké, Sicily

    updated December 27, 2007

    hestiaterion, PalikéPaliké Web pages updated with sample images from our virtual reality re-creation of the hestiaterion (dining facility) from the site.


    added September 20, 2004

    Off to excavateBe an Archaeologist; Excavate a Site in Ancient Nubia -- play our Excavation Simulation Game; a game intended for middle school kids (but fun for budding excavators of all ages); learn about the decisions that archaeologists must make each time they purchase equipment, hire specialists, and excavate a site within a certain limited time and budget. What will you uncover?

     Nemea Valley Archaeological Project, Greece

    added May 2, 2000

    West Building, Tsoungiza - reconstructionThe Nemea Valley Archaeological Project multimedia excavation report's preliminary pages have been revised and expanded with: new reconstructions of the West Building (LH I megaron; 3D artifacts added; and a new reconstruction of House E (EH III dwelling)