Guys, guys! A new smartphone app will provide streetview for Bronze Age city life in Cyprus. Excuse me while I have a tiny party about this. The app will offer a look at urban life more than 3,000 years ago revealing a vibrant Bronze Age city of Kalavasos-Ayios Dhimitrios that once bustled with life on the island of Cyprus.

[Visual rendering of the archaeological site at Kalavasos-Ayios Dhimitrios.
Image: Fisher (UBC)]

Unfortunately, you need to be at the site to see the rendition. According to Past Horizons, the University of British Columbia (UBC) archaeologists working on the island are developing a new mobile application that lets users tour Bronze Age ruins and see reconstructed city buildings. Using your mobile device at the archaeological site will allow you to view a scene from the past through the screen and watch it come alive before your eyes using what is known as augmented reality. UBC researcher Kevin Fisher:

“Augmented reality is a relatively new technology but it has the potential to revolutionise the way people experience archaeological sites. The experience allows the viewer to walk around an archaeological site and see what an ancient city might have looked like in its original context.”

Fisher, a professor in the Department of Classical, Near Eastern, and Religious Studies, has partnered with a group of engineers at UBC’s Media and Graphics Interdisciplinary Centre (MAGIC), led by postdoctoral fellow Payam Rahmdel, developing the app for just one archaeological site but the project could be a stepping-stone for creating new tools for archaeologists and tourists.

The app, called KAD-AR, is among the first of its kind and Rahmdel says it stands out because it gives users an interactive experience using both visual and locational GPS based data. According to Rahmdel:

“Many museums use augmented reality to give visitors extra experiences like watching a video interview about an artefact or seeing some pictures of where it was found. With our app, you’re moving inside a room that is in ruin, seeing it as it was and learning more about it. No other tools look at it this way.”

Much of the work on the 3D model has been completed from photos and maps of the site from previous excavation. While I won't be seeing this in person, here is to hoping some kind tourist records the experience for the poor folks at home to see.