Ancient ‘Plain of Jars’ burial site recreated in virtual reality

The aerial landscape images and other data from research at the Plain of Jars have been integrated into an advanced 3D simulation at the Cave2 virtual reality facility at Monash University.  (Plain of Jars Archaeological Project /MIVP Cave2)

Archaeologists have recreated an ancient burial site in virtual reality, to help them study hard-to-access locations at the so-called Plain of Jars site in Laos and the millennia-old relics it contains.

The researchers will also use virtual reality to study other archaeological sites at the Plain of Jars, many of them located where undetonated American bombs left over from the Vietnam War make it too dangerous to dig.

The virtual-reality project combines aerial video captured by a drone with geophysical data and records of archaeological excavations at “Site 1” on the Plain of Jars, near the town of Phonsavan in central Laos. It aims to create a virtual record of the unique landscape and its hundreds of carved stone jars, some of which measure up to 11 feet tall and weigh many tons, say the researchers. [In Photos: Exploring the Mysterious Plain of Jars Site]

The images and data have been integrated into a 3D video and data simulation at a room-sized, 360-degree virtual-reality facility at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia. Named Cave2, the facility is being developed for advanced “immersive visualization” applications in medicine, science and engineering.

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