OLYMPIA, Greece – The Hellenic Ministry of Culture and Sports and Microsoft Corp. announced Ancient Olympia: Common Grounds, a new collaboration to digitally preserve and restore Ancient Olympia, the original home of the Olympic Games, using AI. This digital renaissance project allows viewers around the world to explore ancient Olympia as it looked over 2,000 years ago through an immersive experience via an interactive mobile app, web-based desktop experience or a Microsoft HoloLens 2 exhibit at the Olympic Museum in Athens.
The digital preservation of Ancient Olympia offers people a way to visit the site during one of the most important periods in history, brought to life in a realistic and engaging way never before possible. This new form of digital archiving still offers a portal to another era, helping us understand what humanity has achieved in the past and reminding us of what we are capable of today.
“Ancient Olympia: Common Grounds is a unique way to experience Greece’s proud cultural heritage. Visitors from all over the world can virtually visit the ancient site of Olympia and experience the history first-hand through augmented reality technology,” said Kyriakos Mitsotakis, Prime Minister of Greece.
“The Ancient Olympia Digital Preservation Project is an impressive achievement in cultural heritage, uniting humanity and cutting-edge technology for the benefit of the world and enabling future generations new ways to explore our past,” said Brad Smith, President and Vice President. . Microsoft.
“With the digital representation of the Panhellenic sanctuary of ancient Olympia, its cultural heritage, but also the values of Olympism, peace, harmony, excellence and noble rivalry, becomes accessible to all thanks to the use of technologies of information. The digital preservation project, through the use of artificial intelligence and augmented reality technologies, implemented thanks to the cultural sponsorship of Microsoft, enhances and enhances the unique and emblematic archaeological site of ancient Olympia. This contributes to the research and documentation of monuments, supports tourism and the extroversion of the country as a modern and strong democracy with a long historical and cultural past and an indisputable development dynamic,” said Lina Mendoni, Minister of Culture and Sports of the Hellenic Republic.
“We thank the Greek government for the trust and the excellent partnership that was necessary to make this project a reality. I look forward to exploring the different ways we can work together to further leverage common ground to improve Greece’s tourism, education and brand in the rest of the world,” said Theodosis. Michalopoulos, general manager of Microsoft Greece, Cyprus and Malta.
In total, the project digitally preserves 27 monuments on the site, including the original Olympic Stadium, the temples of Zeus and Hera, and the workshop of the famous sculptor Phidias. In the 3D experience, these buildings are recreated in realistic detail, painstakingly researched by the Hellenic Ministry’s expert archaeologists to be as true to their original forms as possible. This includes historical timelines of site changes over time and depictions of artifacts from each period.
As part of its AI for Cultural Heritage initiative, Microsoft has partnered with technology company Iconem, which specializes in 3D scanning of historic sites, to create the base model of ancient Olympia. Ground cameras and drones were used to take hundreds of thousands of images of the site, which Microsoft AI processed to create models so precise they look photorealistic.
The collaboration between the Greek Ministry of Culture and Sports and Microsoft has brought together people from diverse theoretical and technical backgrounds, such as archaeologists and developers, and from different parts of the world to work, find new ways to overcome the challenges and, in the end, find a common goal to bring this project to life, not only to preserve the past through the use of artificial intelligence technology, but also to push these principles into the future.
These monuments have survived thousands of years of weather, war, earthquakes and modernization, and need digital preservation to ensure that all evidence of the rich history and shared civic values upon which the site was built be passed on to future generations. .
The web experience can be viewed at olympiacommongrounds.gr and the app can be downloaded from the iOS and Android app stores.
The Ancient Olympia: Common Grounds exhibition, featuring the HoloLens 2 virtual tour, is now open to the public at the Olympic Museum in Athens.
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Tags: AI for Cultural Heritage, Ancient Olympia: Common Grounds, Microsoft HoloLens 2