Note: This was the initial Web page created for this project. It now serves as a repository for the first images and most VRML models created during the project's history.

Virtual Giza

This Web site presents the preliminary results of a pilot study conducted by the University of Michigan Virtual Reality Laboratory for AERA, Inc. (Ancient Egypt Research Associates; Mark Lehner, President), which administers the Giza Plateau Mapping Project (GPMP) affiliated with The Oriental Institute (University of Chicago) and the Harvard Semitic Museum. Mark Lehner is Director of the GPMP and a Research Associate at the Harvard Semitic Museum. Peggy Sanders (Archaeological Graphic Services) produced the 3-D Giza model for AERA. The goal of the project is to develop an interactive 3-D model of the Giza Plateau using VRML, the Virtual Reality Modeling Language. VRML is a standard for the distribution of 3-D models over the Web. The models can be functional and interactive. To view VRML models, a VRML plug-in is required for your favorite Web browser. We recommend the CosmoPlayer plug-in for the Internet Explorer or Netscape browser.

Our first VRML model is of the Great Pyramid of Khufu. Several methods of navigation around the pyramid and through its inner passages can be used. A complete "tour" sequence of preset viewpoints is provided that can be accessed using the viewpoint controls on the left side of CosmoPlayer dashboard. Some of these "viewpoints" are short rides (animations) and include one outside the pyramid and 3 in the Grand Gallery and King's Chamber. You also can freely navigate through the passages and chambers using the navigation controls in the center of the dashboard. Outside of the pyramid, you can use a slider control to increase the transparency of the pyramid walls.

Once inside the pyramid, a sectional map provides information about your location via a red dot that moves with the viewer. A blue arrow on one side of the dot indicates the direction of movement. It also is possible to click on several spots on the map and be "transported" to that viewpoint. Map "hotspots" are: the entrance on the North side, the Gallery, the Queen's Chamber, the King's Chamber and the Unfinished Chamber. Another control that appears when you are inside the pyramid is an arrow button that toggles between standing and crawling positions. Height to eyelevel for standing is 1.35 meters and height to eyelevel for crawling is .7 meters. You can stand in the chambers, but not in the passages. If you switch to a standing position and try to navigate freely in the passages, you will get stuck and will not be able to move.

Entry passage with texture added
CosmoPlayer dashboard controls are shown.
View from the East
The white transparency slider has been moved to the right to increase the transparency of the pyramid walls. The inner passages and chambers are now visible.

View from the Northeast
To view larger versions of the images, click on each image.

Queen's Chamber

Queen's Chamber with texture added

King's Chamber

King's Chamber with texture added

Grand Gallery
Unfinished Chamber

Click to load the VRML model without textures and interact with it on the Web.
File: khufu.wrl - 18 May 99 - 329K (compressed on public site)

Click to load the VRML model with textures and interact with it on the Web.
File: texkhufu.wrl - 18 May 99 - 365K

Click to load the 6-15-99 VRML model with textures. This version uses the Anchor node to display text in the browser window.
File: 6-15_texkhufu.wrl - 7 June 99 - 366K

Click to load the 6-26-99 VRML model with textures. This version restores the VRML text. (texture error at top of Grand Gallery)
File: newtexkhufu.wrl - 26 June 99 - 376K

Click to load the 7-7-99 VRML model with textures. This version has some changes in the Script and Collision nodes to remove inconsistencies and unnecessary routes. Please check this out thoroughly, especially on the SGI. (texture error at top of Grand Gallery)
File: 7-1texkhufu.wrl -- 7 July 99 -- 377K (compressed on public site)

Directory with other VRML files: archive_wrl

Credits: JoAnn Render optimized and converted the original AutoCAD model to VRML, added textures and programmed VRML functionality. The University of Michigan College of Engineering supported this study.

Last Update: March 7, 2000 by
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