3D Petrie Museum

Since 2009, The Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology at UCL, in collaboration with UCL’s Department of Civil, Environmental and Geomatic Engineering and business partner Arius 3D, has been developing a groundbreaking programme for creating 3D images of objects in the Petrie collection.

The aims of the projects are:

  • To develop a viable workflow for the production of high quality 3D models of museum objects, in particular using colour laser scanning.
  • To develop a range of digital 3D applications that will engage audiences.
  • To undertake audience evaluations of the 3D models and applications to better understand the potential of 3D in cultural heritage.

Egyptian coffins are inscribed with spells and images which stand in for spells. All function together as a machine to resurrect the deceased and to guide them safely through the next world. Given this function, its perhaps surprising that the texts from coffins are usually published completely divorced from their position on the coffin. Any additional meaning conferred on the texts by their placement on the surrogate body or relative to each other and the vignettes is lost. In order to understand a coffin as a magical machine, it’s necessary to view the spells in 3D so that this relationship can be taken into account.

The aim of this project is to explore the relationship between texts and their positioning on a magical object through building annotated 3D models of coffins displaying the texts and translations.

Egyptian Sculpture Digitization Project

The Department of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures (NELC), based in the Indiana University Hamilton Lugar School of Global and International Studies, and the Virtual World Heritage Laboratory (VWHL), based in in the Indiana University School of Informatics and Computing, in collaboration with partners at the Brooklyn Museum of Art and the Indiana University Eskenazi Museum of Art, are digitizing in 3D important examples of ancient Egyptian sculpture. It is anticipated that this digital collection will be continually expanded as other museum partners are added.

Facsimile of the tomb of Tutankhamen

In the years since its discovery, the tomb of the young pharaoh Tutankhamun emerged from obscurity to capture the public imagination. About 1,000 visitors enter the fragile sacred space each day, leaving behind bacteria and a thick layer of dust that is wiped off the sheet of glass covering the sarcophagus every morning.

The TNPI recorded the tomb of Tutankhamun and made public its data for scholars and conservators to monitor its conservation condition. The data was re-materialised as a facsimile to create awareness about the importance of non-contact conservation and sustainable tourism.

The Tomb of Nefertari

3D & VR of the tomb of Nefertari by Andrey Plaksin based on 4500 photos, with an overall volume of 15.3 GB in different resolutions, including rare archival images. Non-commercial, creative and educational project.

Giza 3D

3D reconstruction of the Giza Plateau by the Giza Project at Harvard University. Contains models of several pyramids and mastabas as well as some virtual tours.

Constructing the Sacred: Visibility and Ritual Landscape at the Egyptian Necropolis of Saqqara
Elaine A. Sullivan

The long-lived burial site of Saqqara, Egypt, has been studied for more than a century. But the site we visit today is a palimpsest, the result of thousands of years of change, both architectural and environmental. Elaine A. Sullivan uses 3D technologies to peel away the layers of history at the site, revealing how changes to sight lines, skylines, and vistas at different periods of Saqqara’s millennia-long use influenced sacred ceremonies and ritual meaning at the necropolis.

Amarna 3D

Personal research project into computer animation by Paul Docherty. The aim was to construct a virtual recreation of the main city complex of the ancient Egyptian city of Akhetaten, for use within a documentary style animation. The model was developed spanning different versions.

Digital Karnak

The colossal site of Karnak is one of the largest temple complexes in the world, with an incredibly rich architectural, ritual, religious, economic, social and political history. The Amun-Ra precinct, which includes an astonishing number of individual temples, shrines and processional ways, stands as a micro-cosmos of ancient Egypt.

The Digital Karnak Project was designed and built at the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) under the direction of Dr. Diane Favro (director of the ETC) and Dr. Willeke Wendrich (editor-in-chief of the UCLA Encyclopedia of Egyptology).

Archived project website

Virtual Hibeh

Personal project by Kristian Howald, a computer graphics artist graduated from Sheridan College’s Classical and Computer Animation program.

Bathing with the Romans (Karanis)

3D reconstruction as part of the URU Fayum Project carried out by ARCHiNOS Architecture with funding from the U.S. Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation.


Qantir/Pi-Ramesse (House of Ramses) is situated in the Nile-Delta of Egypt, about 120 km northeast of Cairo. Between the 17th of December 2016 and the 18th of June of 2017 an exhibition titled “Ramesses – Divine ruler of the Nile” took place in Karlsruhe, Germany, in which an animation of the reconstruction of Pi-Ramesse was presented.


Personal project by digital artist Ancient Vine. Includes images of the Pharos and Library of Alexandria.

Virtual Malqata

In 2016, Franck Monnier with the aid of Paul François took on the digital reconstruction of the palace of Malqata. They used state-of-the-art digital reconstruction technologies and 3-D software to create a platform to test various viewpoints of the site and to validate architectural and decoration presumptions. The resulting digital imagery also enabled researchers to produce different renderings, such as day and night views. While this virtual animation brings the site back to life, this computing power must not downplay the importance of the fundamentals of archaeological reconstruction. Documentary research and the cross-referencing of archeological data remain the foundation of such an undertaking.

Amarna (Aton-Num exhibition)

3D reconstruction by the company Archéovision for an exhibition in France about  the Amarna period.

Merib and Metjen

3D scans were used to rebuild and consolidate the offering chapels of Merib and Metjen in the Neues Museum in Berlin.

View the project

3D models on Sketchfab

Allard Pierson
Amara West
Book of the Dead in 3D
British Museum
Chicago House
David Anderson
Garstang Museum
Harvard Museum of the Ancient Near East
Ibrahim Mustafa Ibrahim
Indiana University
Kunsthistorisches Museum Wien
Museum der Universität Tübingen
RMO Leiden
Rosicrusian Egyptian Museum