Sights, Sounds, Smells

Technology brings a city to life

Editorial Staff
July 24, 2008

Stepping back in time visitors to the Virtual Archaeological Museum (MAV) will experience the sights and sounds of an ancient Roman city.


The MAV simulates daily life of the ancient coastal city of Herculaneum, destroyed by Mt. Vesuvius 2,000 years ago.


Constructed over three years, at a cost of approximately 10 million euro, the museum features over 70 multimedia installations. Cutting-edge software in the installations recognizes visitors on the basis of the tags they receive on entry, distinguishing kids from adults, foreigners from Italians.


Following a route through the museum's 3D reconstructions, simulations, and holograms, visitors wander through the city's public baths, villas and houses, a marketplace, a brothel, and a perfumery. Scents of spices and other smells waft from the scenes, and voices of Herculaneum's residents call out.


Just south of Naples, the museum occupies an old school just 100 metres from the archaeological site. The city of Herculaneum was destroyed in the same eruption that devastated Pompei on August 24, 79 AD.


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