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Virtual Theater District of Pompeii

We have reconstructed the Grand Theater, the Triangular Forum, and the connecting areas of the Theater District in the Roman city of Pompeii as an interactive three-dimensional model. The model is the central reference tool of the information we are compiling on the archeological site (Weis, 2010). Our goal is to produce an online (web) site, which will integrate the model, original photographs, historical photos and drawings, written materials, and more. Our scholarly goals are: (1) Demonstrate how the connecting areas of the theater district functioned in the larger architectural space. (2) Illustrate the evolution of this popular long-uncovered site, as a physical and cultural artifact. We are interested in how it has changed in the popular and scholarly imagination over the years. (3) Demonstrate best practices in information access and presentation. (4) Provide all software and source materials to the public. (5) Provide a virtual stage for live mixed reality theater and recreations of dramatic performances.


Hawkins, J., Jacobson, J., Franklin, J. (2011) Greco-Roman Music in Context; Bringing Sound and Music to Virtual Pompeii, World Conference on E-Learning in Corporate, Government, Health Care, and Higher Education (E-Learn), Honolulu, Hawaii, October, 2011. PDF

Weis, A., Jacobson, J., Darnell, M. (2010) The Virtual Theater District of Pompeii. Computer Applications in Archaeology (CAA), Granada, Spain, April, 2010 PDF

Jacobson, J., Vadnal, J. (2005p) The Virtual Pompeii Project. World Conference on E-Learning in Corporate, Government, Health Care, and Higher Education (E-Learn) Vancouver, Canada, October 24-28. PDF

Old Versions

We built Version 3.0 of the Theater District Model in UT2004 as an intermediate step. Click the image below to see screenshots and to download the source.

Version 2.0 of the Theater District is very similar to the original Pompeii Project (version 1.0) developed at Carnegie Mellon's Studio for Creative Inquiry in 1995-1996. It was technically advanced for its day, but lacked supporting materials. PublicVR sponsored conversion of the original model to VRML format and made some improvements to the artwork (Jacobson, 2005). Version 2.0 was incorporated into an early version of larger exhbit, "A day in Pompeii," during is showing at the Gulf Coast Explorium Science Center, Mobile, Alabama (January-June, 2007). For access to the models and more details, see:

Enter the 3D Model

The most recent version (4.0) of the model exists in 3D Studio Maxx format and in Unity. Click on the image below to open the web version of the model. For better graphics and performance download the executable for the PC, unzip it, open the folder, and double-click the Pompeii_PC.exe file. alternatively, you can download or the executable for the MAC, unzip it, and double-click the resulting "".

Sound and Music

Our current work for the theater district is to add sound of music to the virtual space, the beginnings of which we have outlined in a recent paper (Hawkins, 2011). We already have a starter set of sounds attached to the model, and we hope to post it to the site soon.


Our intention is to build an extensive reference website around the Theater District Model, but that project is on hold for now. When we do, we will use CuratorVM.


Jeffrey Jacobson, Ph.D. sets the technical and overall specifications for the project, managing it, mediating all technical issues, and maintaining libraries of project information.
Professor Anne Weis at the Art History Department, University of Pittsburgh, is lead our efforts at historical accuracy for all versions of the archaeological reconstruction.
Professor John Franklin at the Classics Department, University of Vermont, Burlington, handles all historical issues around the musical traditions of ancient Rome.
David Hopkins did all of the texturing, lighting, and the significant amount of debugging for the architectural model in version 4.0.
Jon Hawkins Composed an initial soundscape for the model. PDF
Michael Darnell worked closely with Jacobson and Weis, building the 3D model for version 3.0 over the course of three and a half years.

We are grateful to the following professionals who donated their time to improve the internal geometry of the Unity model: Denis Loubet, Brian Relay, Joe Perry, and Le Pan

All references related to the eventual Pompeii website are in CuratorVM.

The credits for Theater District 2.0 and 1.0 are very long, and contained within the Pompeii VRML.

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