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Small anniversary: Our own webpage

Exactly one year ago, we started this blog (although some posts are older) and our new portfolio, as well as our social media sites on Facebook, Google+ and Twitter. The portfolio site had between 1.000 and 3.000 visitors a month (!) from all over the world. Our blog had over 8.500 visitors so far and in average about 20 visitors a day. We are very proud of this and hope the numbers keep raising. We want to thank everyone for their support by clicking on our site, sharing it and sending us all the positive feedback. We’ll try to keep it up!

Published: Italian magazine ARCHEO (July 2013)

It is a bit in the past, but we just received our deposit copies of the July issue of the Italian magazine Archeo. This magazine is dedicated to archaeological stories and news. Massimo Vidale and Andreas M. Steiner wrote an article about the fascinating metropolis of Uruk and of course mentioned the Uruk exhibition in Berlin. We even made it onto the cover of the magazine!

And the winner is…

A couple of weeks ago, we asked you to write to us, if you want to win one of the newly published children books “Entdeckungsbuch Uruk”. We actually did draw a winner back then and are happy to announce now that Zenobia from the Netherlands has won the book! We already sent it to her and she was so kind to send us a photo back.

We sincerely hope that Zenobia has a lot of fun with this book and are looking forward to the next one that we can give away.

Photo: © Zenobia

Round-up of 19 weeks Uruk exhibition in Berlin

Since the 25th of April until today, the 8th of September 2013, the Uruk exhibition “Uruk – 5.000 years of the megacity” was presented at the Pergamonmuseum in Berlin. The exhibition attracted over 400.000 visitors in 19 weeks. On busy days, around 6.000 visitors a day walked trough the halls of the Pergamonmuseum and learned all about the ancient city of Uruk.

The first edition of the exhibition catalogue was sold out in July/August and the second edition is already in stores. Overall, there is very positive feedback for the exhibition in the media and we too received a lot of positive messages concerning our visualisations. This of course makes us very proud!

The next station of the exhibition will be Herne, a town near Bochum in North Rhine-Westphalia. The LWL-Museum für Archäologie is presenting the exhibition from the 3rd of November 2013 for 24 weeks until the 21st of April 2014. We will of course be there to install our animations and take some pictures of the exhibition.

As mentioned before, today is the last day to go and see the Uruk exhibition in Berlin. If you can make it, just go, if not, here is something to remember the exhibition:

Photos: © Sebastian Hageneuer

What is reconstruction all about? – Part 1/3

One of our specialities and passions is the reconstruction and visualisation of ancient architecture. Virtual 3D-models make it possible to communicate a lot of information at a single glance. In this multi-part article I want to discuss the roots (Part 1), benefits (Part 2) and problems (Part 3) of archaeological reconstructions.

Part 1: The roots

One of the most famous ancient architecture is the Tower of Babylon. Since the 11th century AD, miniatures of the tower were made relying solely on the reports of European travellers.¹ The evolution of its visualisation developed simultaneously to history. Different artist rendered their version of the tower since the 14th century. One of the most famous paintings is the one made in 1563 by Pieter Bruegel (see above). None of these early images of the Tower of Babylon are based on any archaeological facts however.

Only since 1913, when the ruin of the ziggurat of Babylon was finally examined, it was possible to base the reconstructions on actual archaeological data. In 1915, Th. Dombart was the first to offer an archaeological reconstruction of the tower and in 1918 R. Koldewey followed him with his own interpretation. Since then, many proposals were made and discarded again. The latest version of the tower was shown in the Babylon exhibition 2008 in Berlin.

One could say, that since the late 19th/early 20th century, archaeological reconstructions have been around, but what is the purpose? Obviously, there is the matter of publishing archaeological content. Since the pioneers of archaeology, public appreciation of findings and results have always been important in order to ensure financial support. The drawings of Walther Andrae of Assur, Babylon or the Near East itself² were widely popular in its own time as well as now and most definitely helped painting a picture of a hitherto unknown world.³ For a non-scientific audience, visual reconstructions of ancient architecture is a simple way of understanding archaeological results.

The development of reconstructions in the last 100 years gradually changed the media in which they are displayed. First simple drawings and sketches or copper engravings, later isometric diagrams and virtual 3D-reconstructions. Soon, it will be possible to walk through a live-rendered version of ancient cities, merely recognising a virtual world. Technologies like the CryEngine or Oculus Rift make that already happen. The future of archaeological presentation and reconstruction is exciting and in the next part of this post, I will talk about the benefits of reconstruction on a public level as well a scientific one.

[1] Schmid, H. 1995: Der Tempelturm Etemenanki in Babylon, in: BaF 17, Mainz.
[2] Andrae, W. 1988: Lebenserinnerungen eines Ausgräbers, Berlin. Andrae, E.W./Boehmer, R.M. 1992: Bilder eines Ausgräbers. Walther Andrae im Orient 1898-1919, Berlin.
[3] Micale, M.G. 2008: European Images of the Ancient Near East at the Beginnings of the Twentieth Century, in: Schlanger, N./Nordbladh, J. (Eds.), Archives, Ancestors, Practices, New York/Oxford, 191-200.

Published: Entdeckungsbuch: Uruk, Keilschrift, Gilgamesch

We are happy to announce, that we were able to publish some of our pictures in a new book for children. It introduces Uruk and the archaeology of Mesopotamia, Gilgamesh and Cuneiform Writing. You can learn about ancient law and with how many bricks the wall of Uruk was built. It is written in German and not only interesting to children! Now comes the best part: We are giving one book away! If you are interested, read below…

If you want to win one of these books, it is very simple: Send an eMail to win@artefacts-berlin.de until the 28th of July with your name and shipping address. On the 29th we will let fortune decide who gets the book. We take care of the shipping fees, no matter where you live. After this we will delete all mails and will not save any of your addresses. We have no interest in any data whatsoever and just want to give away one of these books. Good luck!

Presentation: The architecture and reconstruction of Uruk

When: 11th of July 2013, 6 p.m., free entry, presentation in German
Where: Gobelin-Saal, Bode-Museum, Am Kupfergraben 1, 10178 Berlin
What: Monumental architecture of the 4th and 3rd mill. BCE in Uruk
Who: Prof. Ricardo Eichmann (DAI) and Sebastian Hageneuer (Artefacts)

Prof. Ricardo Eichmann will talk about  the monumental architecture of Uruk and its evolution. He will give an insight into the structuring and growth of the city. In the second part, I will talk about the  reconstructions. What problems arose and how we solved them. I will show some examples of the White Temple and talk about the reconstruction of the outer façade.

The talk is planned to be around 45 minutes long, the entry is free, it starts at 6 p.m. Come and join us!

News from the ongoing Uruk exhibition

Today, I was in the neighbourhood of the Pergamonmuseum and used that to do a check-up on the animations. Everything was working fine of course. While I was going through the exhibition, I was rather watching the people enjoying, than the exhibition itself. Of course, I have visited several times and had therefore eyes for something else. It was fun to see people discussing the monumental architecture and how the old Uruk-ians made all that probably happen.

As far as I have heard, the exhibition had over 150.000 visitors and the exhibition catalogue is nearly sold out, so that the second edition is already in the making. If you haven’t seen the exhibition until now, you still have time. You can visit until the 8th of September in Berlin or after that in Mannheim. Don’t miss it!

Photos: © Sebastian Hageneuer

We got published in the “Archäologie Weltweit”

In the very first issue of “Archäologie Weltweit” (1/2013) is an article about Uruk and the exhibition, which features two of our pictures. One shows the sliced building C of the Late Uruk Period and the other the ziggurat of the Ur III Period.

This new magazine is published by the German Archaeological Institute and is mainly covering their projects and results. It will appear three times a year and is at the moment free of charge.

We got published in the “Antike Welt”

In this issue of the “Antike Welt” (3/2013) are a couple of pictures from our Uruk visualisations and we even made it onto the cover! Well, I know it is not People Magazine, but we are nonetheless very proud. You’ll see visualisations of the Ur III Period, the Late Uruk Period and the Seleucid Period. There are five articles about Uruk and the exhibition. It’s definitely worth a look!

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