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How researchers used VR to recreate an ancient Pompeiian home

By Michael Lee

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    TORONTO (CTV Network) — A team of researchers has used virtual reality to rebuild a Pompeiian home with the goal of understanding the most appealing features behind Roman design and architecture.

Published in the journal Antiquity, the researchers from the department of archeology and ancient history at Lund University in Sweden used spatial analysis and eye tracking to monitor volunteers as they explored a virtual reconstruction of the House of the Greek Epigrams, a home in northeast Pompeii that was destroyed by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in AD 79.

“Work and daily activities were intermingled during the day. The house communicated to people about the personal power and status of the owner and his family,” said Danilo Marco Campanaro, a PhD candidate from Lund University and co-author of the research.

Historical records suggest that Roman homes were designed to emphasize certain features while hiding others, a news release from Antiquity says.

Previous research has found some used angled walls and raised floors to make the interior of their homes appear bigger to those looking through the front door. The House of the Epigrams, the researchers say, also was once decorated with fresco paintings.

Due to damage caused to Roman houses, the result of centuries of neglect, weathering and volcanoes, the researchers say studying these nuances has proved challenging.

But using virtual reality, the scientists were able to track and measure the visual attention of volunteers as they toured the house.

“The results of this study show how the owner of the house stimulated the visitor’s senses to convey a message about its power and wealth,” Campanaro said.

The researchers say a next step could be to include olfaction and auditory senses.

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Sonja Puzic

Article Topic Follows: CNN - Regional

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