natural scIences In archaeology
Virtual Archaeology: Remains of a Roman Villa in the Bay of Stari Trogir,
Nika Lužnik Jancsary
University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Arts, Aškerčeva c. 2, 1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia
Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Archaeological Prospection and Virtual Archaeology, Hohe Warte 38, 1190 Vienna, Austria
In the feld of conservation and interpretation of archaeological
heritage, the importance of documenting and presenting
heritage virtually increases every year. Virtual environments
are a privileged way of distributing the knowledge of cultural
and scientifc themes. The interest in computer graphics has
therefore been present in these felds for quite some time
and has eventually led to the establishment of the felds of
virtual archaeology (see Reilly 1990) and virtual cultural
heritage; for example (Addison 2000; Berndt, Carlos 2000).
Furthermore, with the technological development that is
more and more capable of reproducing the lost heritage for
the purposes of research and representation, this interest only
keeps increasing. All this brings additional responsibility for
scientifcally evaluated visualizations, as described more
thoroughly in charters like Principles of Seville (2011) and
The London Charter (2009). These guidelines suggest that
visualization should strive for historical rigour, authenticity,
scientifc transparency, and should also be made accessible.
The advantage of computer visualizations in this context
is that they enable the evaluation of models better than
any other type of media and at the same time provide a
comprehensive understanding of the monument. In the
virtual model, for instance, the relationship between the
building and the surrounding terrain is visible, and the
placement of diferent architectural features can be tested on
a virtual terrain. By positioning the virtual camera on various
points of interest, viewshed analysis can be performed. It
also enables a physical simulation of daylight or water tide.
The mass of the building material, and consequently also the
building time, can be calculated. Moreover, the volume of
structures is easily measurable, such that, for example, the
amount of fsh that could be raised in a particular breeding
pool can be calculated.
Computer visualizations can also present interactively the
possible reconstructions of the monuments on site. This way,
the authenticity of the monuments can be preserved – and
there is no need for them to be subjected to a contemporary
reconstruction (Pirkovic 2003).
In this context, a virtual presentation most signifcantly
benefts a site that is at the moment undervalued in the eyes
of the public. The public understanding of its signifcance
in the past and its connection with the present day could
Volume VIII ● Issue 2/2017 ● Pages 145–155
*Corresponding author. E-mail: email@example.com
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/ 10.24916/iansa.2017.2.4
The paper focuses on the challenges of creating a computer visualization of a site with scarce source
data, originally gathered for documentation purposes only. The particular site considered in this article
is a Roman maritime villa in the bay of Stari Trogir, Central Dalmatia, Croatia. The well-preserved
remains are constantly under threat of destruction, as they are exposed to local construction work.
First described in the 17
century, and sporadically researched from the early 20
century, the remains
were again newly documented and interpreted in 2004. They are especially interesting because of their
peculiar semi-circular structure. The objective in the present work is to create virtual presentations of
multiple interpretations of the site, to tell a story about the locals’ home. This should encourage an
emotional connection with the remains and induce respect towards the place’s history, as well as the
desire to preserve and protect it.
IANSA 2017 ● VIII/2 ● 145–155
Nika Lužnik Jancsary: Virtual Archaeology: Remains of a Roman Villa in the Bay of Stari Trogir, Central Dalmatia
once again turn it into a building block of local, regional and
national identity and involve locals and visitors on a personal
level (Vidrih-Perko 2008; Merriman 2004; Sola 1985).
With these considerations in mind, the present work aims
at raising awareness for a particular site that fts the above
characteristics, by drawing on computer aided visualization.
The context of this work is a research project comprising
three diferent levels: (1) computer visualization of the site;
(2) implementation of the visualization, making it available
to the public; and (3) later evaluation of the success.
From the data available to the Department of Archaeology
(University of Ljubljana) for a case study of this kind, the
site of Roman remains in the bay of Stari Trogir near Trogir
in Central Dalmatia, Croatia was chosen (Figure 1, Figure 2
and Figure 7). The overall project is still ongoing, with the
current frst stages being to establish a virtual model of
the archaeological interpretation of the site. At this point,
valuable experience has already been collected on how to
visualize the information that is intended to be conveyed,
and a suitable visualization workfow has been established.
These issues will be the main focus of this article. In future
stages of the project, a quality heritage interpretation will
furthermore be conducted, which is a prerequisite for better
understanding of the archaeological fnds by the general