By Ryan Thompson
Visitors to the Alexander Keiller Museum at National Trust Avebury have a unique opportunity to take part in a research project looking into the development of immersive simulations of ancient heritage sites.
This involves wearing a virtual reality headset and spending a few minutes moving through and exploring the Avebury henge and stone circles as they are thought to have been 4,300 years ago.
This is available to all visitors over the age of 16 years on particular days through July and August, and there is no charge. Participants are asked to wear a virtual reality headset and earphones which allows them to walk or fly through the henge, great stone circle, the two smaller circles and the newly discovered square monument. It also gives an idea of just how deep the ditches and how high the banks were when originally built.
All the researchers ask in return is that once the experience is complete, a questionnaire be completed to describe their experience.
‘This is a really amazing experience’ said Abby George, Marketing and Communications Officer for the Wiltshire Landscape, ‘To be suddenly transported back to 4,000 years ago with the clutter of modern life removed from the landscape was very special and in particular the ability to view the henge from a height gives a real sense of perspective and scale that you just don’t get from the ground.’
Virtual Avebury is part of a nine month project exploring the potential of online virtual simulations to help people understand Avebury and its surrounding virtual landscapes. The virtual Avebury is built as accurately as possible and calls on the latest research to produce the final images and soundscape.
The research is being carried out by Bournemouth University in partnership with Daden Limited (a 3D simulation development company), Satsymph (a consortium of sound specialists) and the National Trust. The project has been funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council.
For more information on the research go to: www.nationaltrust.org.uk/avebury.
For available dates go to: tinyurl.com/virtual-avebury.