Immerse Yourself in Ancient Jerusalem

January 6, 2017 by Sophie Deutsch
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Have you ever wondered what ancient Jerusalem looked like some 2,000 years ago? A new virtual reality app may ease your curiosity.

Lithodomos VR immerses users in a truly unique experience, enabling them to view the Western Wall towering above them – newly constructed and at a staggering 20 metres tall. Beneath, thousands of Jewish homes, sprawling to the horizon, create an awe-inspiring scene of this breathtaking ancient city.

Whilst visiting Jerusalem today carries its own special significance, what remains of the city is just a small part of a massive complex that existed 2,000 years ago. With a new, rigorously researched virtual reality app, users can experience ancient landscapes as they appeared during the tumultuous and eventful period of 1st century Roman occupied Jerusalem.

Lithodomos VR, founded in 2016 in Melbourne, is the brainchild of Simon Young, who recently completed his PhD thesis in archaeology and is a self-taught expert in 3D modelling.

“Lithodomos VR was inspired by a burning desire to travel back in time and see the ancient world first hand. VR gave me the tools to do it,” says Simon. He also outlined what he feels makes his company unique. “What differentiates Lithodomos VR from the rest is our commitment to archaeological accuracy”.

Simon told J-Wire, “I can say that every detail of our scenes we argue about and think about very carefully to make sure that what the viewer is receiving to their optic nerve is something that has been carefully researched and isn’t guess work, but a real reflection of what we know.”

For this reason, the rigorously researched app can be utilised as a teaching tool for educative purposes. Indeed, Simon was originally approached by educators at LaTrobe University, who had wanted to use virtual reality programming as part of their ancient worlds study course. Using an Oculus Rift virtual reality headset, Simon imported one of his 3D models into a game engine, and, as he says, “hey presto! There I was standing in one of my 3D models. I got excited by the prospect of using archaeological data and archaeological models to create accurate immersive experiences of them.”

The entertainment value of the archaeologically accurate virtual reality app is a strong drawcard particularly for younger audiences. Simon contends that, “it is kind of like an archaeological Pokémon Go… instead of catching Pokémons, you are catching glimpses of the ancient world.”

Lithodomos VR’s highly anticipated first app, Ancient Jerusalem in VR, is now available on Google Play for just $2.99. A portion of Ancient Jerusalem in VR can be viewed here: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.ARE.AncientJerusalemVR

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